Many people start their work-at-home journey seeking opportunities to get paid to type from home. The problem is that many work-from-home opportunities labeled as "typing jobs" are scams. With that said, there are work-at-home jobs that involve typing. Closed captioning is one of those jobs.
What Is Closed Captioning?
Closed captioning is a type of transcription in which typists transcribe verbatim television, video or live event transcripts. There are essentially two types of closed captioning jobs:
- Real-Time Closed Captioning: Real-time captioners transcribe live events such as television news for the hearing impaired. Because it’s done in real time, it requires a quick typing speed and accuracy. Real-time closed captioning tends to pay more than other forms of captioning or transcription.
- Offline Closed Captioning: Any event that needs to be transcribed that isn’t live, is done through offline closed captioning. This can include transcripts of talk shows and other televised events that aren’t aired live. It can also include video captioning, which is growing in demand. Although not done live in the moment, offline closed captioning still requires typing speed and accuracy. These types of captioners are usually paid by audio minute, so the faster and more accurately you type, the more you'll get paid. offline closed captioning also involves understanding time codes that break up the video by frames to sync the video and transcription.
What Types of Jobs Use Closed Captioners?
Many think of captioning for the hearing impaired when they think of closed captioning, but there are a variety of industries that use closed captioners, including:
- Television real-time captioning
- Non-live recorded television or other events
- Scopist (court report editors)
- Video captionists
- Webinar hosts
What Do Closed Captioners Get Paid?
The pay for closed captioning varies depending on the type of captioning, the industry, amount of work (i.e. part-time versus freelance or full-time), past experience, and knowledge required of the job (i.e. legal jargon). According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2018, the median pay for court reporters (a type of real-time captioning) was $57,150, however this is generally an onsite job. Most companies hiring closed captioners pay anywhere from $10 to $75 per hour.
What Skills Are Required to Be a Closed Captioner?
While captioning specific training isn’t necessarily needed, you do need to have experience. Closed captioning isn’t usually an entry-level job, and instead, you should have had a past job that involved typing, ideally, transcription.
There are certificate programs, such as in court reporting that can increase your skill and marketability. At the very least, you should have knowledge of the industry you’ll be captioning in as you’ll be using the industry language and writing for a specific audience.
The ability to type fast and accurately is crucial in becoming a closed captioner. Usually you’ll need to take a test to prove your typing prowess. Many jobs have a set typing speed requirement, sometimes up to 220 words per minute, with 98 percent accuracy. You can test your skills using a free online typing test such as at TypingTest.com.
A great command of the English language is also usually required, although there are more captioning jobs popping up that also look for fluency in other languages, such as Spanish.
What Tools or Equipment Are Needed Closed Captioning Jobs?
In most cases, the company will not provide you with the equipment needed to work from home in closed captioning, so you’ll need to have or obtain the tools of the job. This can vary some depending on the job, but common equipment includes:
- Computer with high speed Internet
- Captioning soft-ware
- Digital Foot Pedal
- Landline phone
Be wary of any closed captioning job that requires you to buy equipment or software from the company. There are scams that dupe you into thinking you're getting a job, when in fact they're profiting over selling you equipment or software, and there is no job. Legitimate captioning jobs may requires specific tools or equipment, but will leave it up to you where you get them from.
What Companies Hire Closed Captionists?
Although closed captioning may not be as prevalent as other typing-related jobs such as transcription, it is a growing industry. Many speakers and online entrepreneurs are using captionists to transcribe their videos and webinars. Below is a list of companies that frequently accept applications for closed captionists:
- ASC Services
- Caption Max
- Caption Media Group
- National Captioning Institute
- RNK Productions
- Talking Type Captions
- U.S. Captioning Company
Other Places to Find Close Captioning Jobs
You can use job search sites to find other closed captioning jobs. When searching, use keywords such as “captioner,” “captioning,” and “closed captioner.” Note that these resources may or may not currently have captioning job listings:
- Indeed.com: Link takes you directly to captioning jobs
- FlexJobs: Link takes you directly to work-at-home or flexible captioning jobs
- WorkInEntertainment.com: for TV captioning jobs
- EntertainmentCareers.net: for TV captioning jobs
- MediaBistro.com: for TV or media captioning jobs
Another option is to search microwork sites for captioning jobs. Here are a few to check:
Other Home Based Typing Jobs
Of all the work-at-home typing jobs, captioning may be the least prevalent and hardest to get. But there are other forms of home-based employment that need typists. Here are a few other options:
Transcription: Captioning is a form of transcription, but there are other types as well including medical, legal, business, and general. While medical and legal transcription often require experience and a knowledge of the industry, general transcription usually just needs the ability to type fast and accurately.
Transcription can involve a variety of projects including transcribing webinars, speeches or seminars, dictation, and more. Pay is often lower than captioning, usually around $15 per hour. But you can find entry-level opportunities in transcription at places such as: 1-888-TYPE-IT-UP, Cambridge Transcription, and TranscribeMe!.
Data Entry: Searching for data entry work should be done very carefully, as similar to typing, many are scams. Data entry involves entering data into a company’s system. The data can be words, numbers, and/or codes. It may involve simply entering the data, or it might require research, verification and/or editing of the data. The median hourly wage is about $13 per hour, maybe less for home-based data entry workers. A few places to check for work-at-home data entry are: Axion Data Services, DionData Solutions, and SigTrack.
Translation: If you know a foreign language, there are many opportunities to work at home. Translation involves translating documents from one language to another. Along with quick and accurate typing, it also requires fluency in both languages. According to Payscale, translators earn from $11.80 to $39.24 per hour. A few places to look for home-based translation work include: ABC Translation Services, Bilingva, and Language Line.