In today’s world, many things have to be in real time. When it comes to captioning, there is a certain subset called real-time captioner transcriptionist.
First of all, real time means as it is happening. Captioning is writing words that are spoken during a show, movie, speech or other type of speaking. Generally used for TV shows or Movies, it is the closed captioning that you see at the beginning of the program for those that are hearing impaired. So, in this case, real time captioning is used for shows that are broadcast live such as a news program or Saturday Night Live.
Since it is live, there is no way to know ahead of time what is being said, so the real time captioner will transcribe what is being said so that it appears on the screen so that the hearing impaired can also enjoy the show and so that they can get the gist of what is being said almost instantaneously, real time captioning transcriptionist type as the words are being spoken.
The number one skill that is needed is a typing speed of 225 wpm accurately. Because the captioning has to be almost instantaneous, the captioning transcriptionist needs to be able to type almost as fast as a person speaks.
They also need excellent English grammar skills, the ability to understand a variety of accents and excellent spelling. A real time captioning transcriptionist doesn’t get to review, proofread or edit the final product before it is viewed. For this reason, they needed to among the best in these categories to be able to work in this industry.
Along with having a high school diploma, you will need to have certification as a court reporter transcriptionist/stenographer or you can choose to get your AAS (Associates of Applied Science) and even a Bachelor’s degree.
These certification and degree programs can be done online or in a physical location, and credit will depend on the specific program. You may receive your credits by credit hour or by the skill. In the by the skill, you must master a certain set of skills before moving on to the next set.
The educational programs will cover things like stenographer/transcription equipment, increasing typing and keyboarding speed and skills, English grammar, medical/legal terminologies, business law as well as formatting and Microsoft Office Suite program proficiency.
The length of time will depend on the certification or degree program you choose, and the specific requirements for that program.
Along with the educational requirements, many states and companies require you to be certified and licensed at the state level. Each state has their own requirements, but most likely you will have to take a proficiency exam to ensure that you meet the minimum qualifications to work as a real time captioning transcriptionist.
Along with that, you may want to join a national organization directed to this particular type of work, such as the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). A membership here will give you access to the latest news, employment information and recertification education.
Depending on the state and company you work for, the pay is about the same as a court reporter which runs right around $48,000 – $52,000 per year, often with benefits.
Before you commit to joining this elite set of transcriptionists, you might want to take a look at some of the job opportunities that are out there, but you may not know where to find these jobs. Below are some good sources:
TranscriptionJobsHQ.com: We have partnered with top companies to offer you a very easy-to-use job search engine that pulls all listings from Simply Hired, Monster, and Indeed to show you just about all of the legal transcription jobs that you can find on the internet. If you can’t find your job here feel free to keep searching elsewhere, but we are confident that our database has most of them.
Upwork.com: The transcription jobs on this website range from large to small. Once you create a profile, start out by charging a reasonable rate by audio/video minute and then build up your profile to eventually have a higher cost and repeated clients. It takes some time, but this can be a great way to get multiple clients coming back over and over again.
Rev.com: This is a great company to join if you'd like consistent transcription work provided to you. The problem with joining this company is that you'll be paid less per audio minute because they have to make money too, but they are very consistent with the work that they get.
Simplyhired.com: This is a job listing site that covers a wide range of industries. You can search by keywords such as transcription or corporate transcription. You will want to have a general cover letter that you can edit for each job and a relevant resume as you apply directly to the company itself. These jobs can be at home or in an office.
Careerbuilder.com: One of the largest of the job listing sites, careerbuilder.com has been around for well over 15 years. Again, you will want to upload a relevant resume and have a general cover letter that you can review and edit for specific companies. Since companies can also search the database for relevant workers, it is good to have a copy there as well.
Again, using key words, you will search the database for relevant jobs and apply per the specifics listed in the job details.
Monster.com: Another large job listing site, you can upload resumes, use the resume builder, develop cover letters, search the database for position and review job details. You will apply to each job per the instructions listed in the job details.