Why I Still Want To Be A Captioner

Essay by:  Beverly Neal

2008 Scholarship Award Winner

When you tell someone you’re going to school to be a Broadcast Captioner, they either look at you with a blank stare or they just smile and nod, embarrassed to admit that they have no clue what you’re talking about.  I’ve even had one person reply, “Oh, you should be good at that; you have a nice voice.”  After explaining that Captioners are the people who type the words that show up on the television screen for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, they finally understand.  Captioning is just on of those professions that most people probably haven’t heard much about unless they’ve known someone who does it.  We’ve all seen the captioning on the screen, but we just don’t give much thought as to how it gets there.

I have to admit that before I started the program, I would have been one of these people.  I knew all about Court Reporters and their little machines, but I’d never seen or heard anything about Captioning and CART services.  The people providing these invaluable services seem to lead a low-key, quiet life, often going unnoticed.  Have they planned it that way in an attempt to keep this little jewel all to themselves?  Of course, for those of us looking to enter the field of Captioning or CART, this isn’t all bad.  It should certainly mean less competition when it actually comes time for us to find jobs.

But I think the time has come for Captioners and CART providers to stand up and be recognized for the work they do.  The service provided by these professionals is helping to connect those who might otherwise be shut off from the rest of the world.  They are making it possible for young people to attain their goals in education and for others to participate more fully in their jobs, as well as society in general.  To be a part of this is an exciting prospect.

Be warned, this challenging program is not for the faint of heart.  In fact, there should be caution signs all along the way warning those who are afraid of hard work to stand back, but with practice and perseverance we will make it through this program.  And when we do, let’s make a lot of noise and let the world know who we are and what we do!

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