How to work at home captioning videos
Are you interested in a new career, especially one you might be able to do from home? If so, you should look for closed captioning jobs.
Closed captioning jobs are in demand and are often work from home. There are jobs for all skill levels, from newbies and part-timers to well-paid professionals.
When those who can’t hear very well watch television or movies, they turn closed captioning on. This way, they can read the dialogue as text.
Closed captions are similar to subtitles but intended for the hard of hearing instead of for foreign language films. New content appears every day, so there is a demand for people who work in closed captioning.
Creating closed captions needs some skills
Closed captioners have to type fast – if your typing skills are weak, you will not make much. Usually, the job requires some education or training – it is not something you can do well right away.
However, closed captioning can become a skilled, high paying job. Some people can make over 100K a year doing closed captioning.
Closed captioners use special equipment
People who work in closed captioning do not type with a regular keyboard. Closed captioners use a stenotype machine – a special shorthand keyboard that allows you to type more words per minute.
A stenotype machine is significantly different from a regular keyboard and takes training to use. As well as closed captioners, court reporters use stenotype machines.
With a stenotype machine, you can type around 200 words per minute. That sounds hard, but many people can do it if they have the right machine and training.
If you want to make a good living as a closed captioner, you need to be able to type that fast.
The stenotype machine makes it a lot easier. Unlike a keyboard, it is designed for speed typers.
Closed captions, open captions, and subtitles
Closed captions are different from open captions because you have to switch them on. Open captions appear without you hitting the closed captions button on your remote.
Closed captions are not quite the same as subtitles for the hearing impaired. While subtitles only show dialogue, closed captions give information about what sounds the viewer would be able to hear.
With closed captioning, the text will mention a sound such as a door slam or thunder. Subtitles do not mention these sounds because someone reading subtitles can hear perfectly fine, just not understand the language.
Do you have to go to college to work as a closed captioner?
Not always. Many jobs will consider you without a degree – and these are often high paying jobs.
However, a degree can make it easier to find work. It matters quite a bit, even though it is not strictly required.
If you don’t have any experience, a degree can help you start as a closed captioner. If you already have some experience, a degree can help you find better jobs and make more money.
Real-time captioning is where you create captions for a live show while it is running. You have to keep up with the pace and type very fast to create closed captions for live sports. Anything else that requires real-time captioning is for a skilled worker who can type very fast and accurately.
Real-time captioning is a challenge and is where the real money is. If you can accurately create captions in real-time, you can find a six-figure job in the field.
As with any other career, you can get better paying and more skilled jobs over time.
People who do real-time captioning use stenotype machines and tend to have degrees and experience. Typing that fast is not as hard as it might sound; it becomes routine with enough practice.
Offline VS online captioning jobs
“Offline” does not mean “not on the internet.” Instead, offline close captioning is creating captions for videos that have already been recorded.
Offline closed captioning does not require you to be nearly as fast as real-time captioning does. You can do offline closed captioning at a more flexible pace.
However, it is still a job for fast typers. If you are not fast, your work will take too long, and you won’t make much money.
The first captioning job you find may be part-time and at your own pace. At a job like that, it is fine to be slow.
What matters is that you get faster over time so that you can get better jobs.
Job requirements for successful captioners
As well as good typing skills, you need good listening skills. You cannot be a good captioner if you mishear what the dialogue is saying.
Proper listening skills are a bit harder to develop than you might think. Until you get good at it, you will often mishear a world as a slightly different word.
How much money does an average captioner make?
According to Chron, an average television captioner makes around $55,000 or $60,000 per year. Some captioners make considerably more, so there is money to be made in the field.
Pay for captioners is similar to and somewhat above pay for court reporters, who earn $53,000 per year. Both court reporters and television closed captioners have similar skill sets.
Pay for work that is easy to find over the internet and does not require experience is lower.
For example, you can make up to $1,570 a month on Rev.com. The average is somewhat less than $300 per month – sites like that are for part-timers.
You may have to do low paying work for a while. Only with enough experience can you get a high paying captioning job.
Especially if you do not go to school for it, you might want to start captioning part-time.
Start with an at-home captioning job that does not require experience. Then, get faster until you are good enough for higher-paying work.
Captioning jobs for beginners
If you haven’t gone to school yet and don’t have any experience, how can you get started? Again, start online.
One excellent place for beginners is Rev. At Rev.com you can sign up, pass some straightforward tests, and start doing basic captioning work.
While some people make $1,500 a month working for Rev, it is best for part-timers.
Make a few hundred per month in your spare time learning to do this kind of work properly.
All you need is a computer, reliable internet, basic typing skills, and a strong grip on the English language. You do NOT have to be able to type very fast to work for Rev or similar sites.
After you are reasonably proficient at captioning, move on. Don’t stay at Rev for too long; look for better full-time work elsewhere.
Do a lot of people do captioning jobs from home?
Yes, a lot of people do this work remotely.
Even a lot of higher-end work is remote work. You might use a stenotype machine and make a good living but continue to work remotely.
Are there youtube captioning jobs?
Yes, you can find work writing captions for youtube videos. Rev and other websites for freelance captioners offer work creating captions for youtube videos.
What experience in other jobs can help you find online captioning work?
Transcription is very similar to captioning, and experience in transcription can help you find closed captioning work. Experience in other jobs involving typing, such as data entry, can also help you.
What equipment do I need?
Professional captioners usually have several things that an average person would not have. As well as a steno machine, they might have a foot pedal, a headset, and a landline phone.
With a foot pedal, they can stop the video instantly and finish what they are writing. Professional transcribers and captioners always use them.
Professional captioners may need specific software as well as hardware. Their computer and internet must also be fast enough – you cannot do this job professionally with slow internet.
Before a captioning company hires you, they will expect you to pass a typing test. You will have to be fast and accurate enough.
A captioning company will also prefer a fast typer with a degree.
If you do not have any specific education in transcription, they might like to see a degree in English or journalism. Any degree or experience that shows that you have a strong grip on the English language is relevant.
Can you do captioning jobs for Netflix?
Yes, they need people to create subtitles for their content. Netflix is looking for workers, including remote workers and including part-time workers.
Some people manage to get Netflix captioning jobs if they take short courses in captioning. You can find a good online course that is specifically for captioning and not merely for transcription in general.
Some work on platforms like Rev, Capital Captions and Vanan Captioning Services is for Netflix. Netflix also directly hires captioners, and you are better off working for them directly if you have the opportunity.
If you work for Netflix through an intermediate company, they will pay you $5 per minute of audio you transcribe.
You can make more than a little money in this way if you are fast.
However, $5 per minute is not as much money as it sounds. $5 per minute is good but not great pay for video captioning jobs.
It takes a lot more than a minute to transcribe a typical minute of audio.
Nonetheless, remote captioning jobs for Netflix are a good way to start making reasonably high pay. You will be paid more than that rate if Netflix hires you directly.
Where can I find closed captioning jobs from home?
Work is easy to look for, as there are plenty of well-known companies that take online applications. Different companies offer work for people of different skill levels.
Crowdsurf is a freelance marketplace where captioners view a list of jobs and apply for them. You will start with very little pay and then work your way up if you get good reviews.
Crowdsurf is a great place for beginners. It is an opportunity to try captioning work and see if you could get very good at it.
Experienced workers will have trouble finding work that pays enough on Crowdsurf, even if they have good reviews. Start with a freelance marketplace like Rev or Crowdsurf but don’t stay there for long.
Captain Colorado is a company for more experienced workers looking for remote work.
The work is real-time, so you will need skills and experience. Both full time and part-time work are available.
You will have to pass a few assessments to work for this company.
The first is a 30-minute typing test that you must pass with 98% or better accuracy. After you pass this, there will be further assessments and an interview.
Vitac is a huge company that offers more closed captioning jobs than any other company in the US.
Most of their work, especially their real-time work, is not work from home.
However, they also have a lot of remote work available. The company is good about offering benefits to remote workers as well as in-house workers.
Impact Media is a good choice if you are looking for higher-paying work without a degree. If you have enough experience but not a degree, Impact Media may be your best bet.
CaptionMax is another good choice for experienced captioners looking for higher-paying work. The company is one of the largest in North America and offers real careers to skilled workers.
If you work for CaptionMax, you can get medical plans, dental insurance, paid time off, and a retirement plan.
Couldn’t a computer caption any video?
Automatic captioning and transcription does exist, but it is not yet very accurate.
A human can still transcribe audio better, with a computer making many mistakes. Only with very clear and easy audio can a computer do it well.
How long has closed captioning been around?
It has existed since the early 1970s and been commonly used since the early 1980s. Captions for the deaf were tried for some movies in the 1940s.
It has been the norm for television to offer closed captioning for a long time. Captioning of commentary for live sports events started in the 1980s with the 1981 sugar bowl.