Blog: A Day in the Life of a Captioner

Blog, Captioning 28 Mar 2016

Captioning at Able involves thinking about how a sound should read. Closed captions keep time with speech, objects making sounds and music playing. What’s on screen shows the viewer a story, and captions show what happens audibly.

We follow a rotating roster of different shifts to cover all the different news bulletins we caption. I’m on the early shift this week; my work day starts at 7, so it’s cooler and with less people on the street on the way in to Able. I choose a workstation to work on offline work, as I’m not rostered on to caption news bulletins today. What’s first up? The Barefoot Bandits, a local cartoon that we caption from scratch, which is very cute and filled with Kiwi jokes.

What’s up next for me could be a half-a-minute advertisement’s captions, peer-reviewing one of our files that have been captioned from scratch or, on another day, working in a small team to provide live captions using speech recognition and/or pre-prepared scripted captions for a sporting event or a broadcast like the Grammys. What started as a morning watching through an overseas file to reformat it for New Zealand broadcast could end up covering a news event as it breaks. In the sunny afternoon when I finish my shift, I go back to the world of hissing buses and chatting people bustling in Auckland outside, till tomorrow’s stories that I can caption for our viewers.

Check out our list of captioned programmes here.

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