If you are a person who is looking for work as a closed captioner, this post will help you understand more about the requirements of this job, where to find work, and how much money you may be able to earn.
What is a Closed Captioner?
A movie captioner is someone who transcribes what is spoken in the movie (or television show). The captions are the text that appears at the bottom of the screen when closed captioning is activated.
What are the Requirements to be a Captioner?
There are many professionals who have recently started working as closed captioners. The job can be completed from anywhere, making it ideal for stay-at-home mothers or other people who want to work remotely.
In order to be a movie captioner, you should have the following skills:
How Much Money Can a Captioner Make?
With captioning, you are paid for each recorded minute you transcribe. This means you will be paid X amount for a 5-minute recording regardless of how long you take to transcribe it. For this reason, you need to progressively get faster at your work to earn more money.
What Types of Closed Captioning Work is There?
There are two main types of closed captioning work: offline and real-time captioning.
In offline captioning, you will type out the captions for pre-recorded movies or television shows that are not aired live. It can take years of professional experience to reach this level as you must have a strong understanding of how time codes work to finish the job accurately.
With real-time captioning, you will be typing out the text for live programs (generally the local news or a sporting event). To perform this job, you must have quick typing skills and strong attention to detail as a captioner is expected to produce the word within 2 seconds of it being spoken.
Where to Find Offline Captioning Work
It is easier to find entry-level work in an offline captioning job (although they are generally not as well paid). Here are a few places on the Internet where you can find work as an offline captioner:
Rev is a great place to start your captioning work as a beginner. While they don’t pay as much as other sites, they offer a variety of jobs that will help you learn the process. To begin, you will need to take a test where you perform the job per their requirements. If you pass the test, they will notify you of a way to log in to find more work.
With Rev, you can transcribe audio or video recordings. You are allowed to choose your work. As you get a better rating, you’ll qualify for more difficult (and better paying) jobs.
TransPerfect has over 90 global offices scattered around the globe. While a lot of their work is for internal positions, they do have work for freelancers as well. As a freelancer, you will have access to unique work. If you are bilingual or multilingual, you may also be able to score some translation or interpretation work.
3. Caption Media Group
Caption Media Group offers work in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, making them a good place to work for bilingual individuals. While they don’t post their jobs on their site (and rather on job boards), they do offer many closed captioning jobs.
CrowdSurf is similar to Rev in that it is a good place for freelancers to get their foot in the door and begin to gain experience. The better you get at the job, the more you can earn. As with Rev, it would be difficult to earn a full-time living from this site alone, but it is a good side-gig or a place to gain the transcription experience needed to find better jobs in the future.
5. Impact Media
Once you have gained some experience, you may be able to get a job with Impact Media. They offer transcription services to television shows and commercials. While you won’t need a degree to work at this agency, you will need to prove that you can do the work and have it back to them before the deadline.
6. Online Job Postings
You can search for online job posting sites like FlexJobs and Upwork for jobs. Search for the terms “captioning” or “transcription” to see what comes up. Apply for the jobs you want. As you get more experience and have positive reviews, some people may reach out to you for work, minimizing the amount of time you have to search for it.
Where to Find Real-Time Captioning Work
While this work is substantially harder than offline captioning work if you have the experience under your belt, here is where you can look for jobs:
CaptionMax hires both offline and real-time transcriptionists to complete their work for them. You will typically need at least 1-2 years of solid experience before they will consider you for a position. They do have several different positions available. While many jobs may require you to work in their brick and mortar office, they do occasionally have online positions.
2. Aberdeen Broadcast Services
Aberdeen Broadcast Service offers real-time captioning positions to people who can transcribe 180-220 words per minute, but they pay up to $75 per hour. They offer both office and hork-at-home transcription opportunities. They primarily work with Christian-based materials and programming.
Vanan is always looking for professional captioners with a lot of experience. They require a fast turn-around, but there is plenty of work for those who can keep up. They work with many top agencies and strive to live up to the highest transcription standards. The company offers several types of captioning to their clients.
4. VITAC (Caption Colorado)
VITAC is a well-known caption company that offers real-time captioning. They hold the record of the number of hours transcribed in a year: 260,000. They offer at-home work, but they require that you are able to use a stenograph to type 225 words per minute or more.
While you will get training at the beginning of your job, you should have some experience to show them before you apply. If hired, you will be seen as an employee of the company (even if you work from home) and will be given the same benefits as those who work in their office.