What is Captioning?


The ability to transcribe the spoken word very quickly led to new career opportunities as stenographic court reporters began transitioning to the fields of broadcast captioning and CART captioning. Captioners provide speech-to-text translation in many situations and in various venues for access for people who have hearing impairments. These include conferences, phone calls, classes, and all-audience access such as during live television or in stadiums or theater settings.

Broadcast captioners, also called stenocaptioners, use court reporter skills on the stenotype machine to provide captions of live television programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers through realtime technology that instantly produces readable English text. Captioners work for local stations and for national channels and networks captioning news, emergency broadcasts, sports events, and other programming.

The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 had very specific mandates for closed captioning of local programs around the country. This created an enormous increase in the demand for realtime captioners to cover local news broadcasts around the country mornings, afternoons, and evenings.



What is CART?

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Captioning is the instant translation of the spoken word into English text using a stenotype machine, computer, and realtime software. The text appears on a computer monitor or other display. This technology is primarily used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing or who are learning English as a second language. 

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I am a captioner

"I work from home to caption live news and sporting events. Sportscasters speak; I write. My steno is instantly translated to English with impressive accuracy given the speed at which this process happens. As a specialized CART captioner, I also provide an instantaneous text stream to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. I level the playing field in classrooms, at community events, at church services, and wherever I’m needed. I open doors of information.

I love that I get to caption big world events. I’ve captioned the State of the Union address, Nancy Reagan’s funeral, and the Pope when he was in America.





NCRA Captioning timeline

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NCRA captioning timeline [PDF]


What's next?

Discover if a career in court reporting or captioning is the right career for you!

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