Captioning or more technically stenography or steno is the process of providing a live transcript or captions of audio to an audience. Sometimes happens on a screen which we call Open Captions when they’re provided to everyone in the audience regardless of individual preference. In other situations this might happen on a separate device like an iPad where individuals are able to choose if they’d like to view the captions in English or another language of their choice.
The most commonly known stenographers are court reporters who create a live record of everything that is said in the room. They report details in minutia should the record ever be needed in the future. While that may be the most well known instance of reporting, it certainly isn’t the most common. We place stenographers and captions (not using a steno machine) in classrooms, business offices and conferences all around the world.
Stenographers can typically type 200+ words per minute on average with many clocking over 300 per minute. They do this by typing phonetically as opposed to letter by letter. Larger words often only require three combinations of key strokes, eliminating much of the additional typing work necessary to produce a full legible message.
If you’ve ever watched a live event on TV and seen the slight delay in captions, it is because a dedicated stenographer is on the other end of the feed typing out all of the audio by hand. They make corrections on the spot, in real time. While we still use live stenographers sometimes when the transcript isn’t urgent, we’d hire a transcriptionist. This person is trained to convert the audio from a recording with timestamps to be used for captions or voice overs. Often these transcriptionists are pursuing a career in stenography and during their training are able to provide slower but efficient transcriptions on an asynchronous schedule.
Our live captions and stenographers are available for booking in combination with any of our services. We can provide them live or remotely which is more common as they are able to plug the transcript feed directly into any AV feed currently serving an audience with ease.