Like many of us, you may be looking for a side hustle where you can earn a little bit of extra income to help you or your family get through this tough, challenging and worrying economic climate where household costs are increasing, and the value of the dollar is decreasing.
At Budget Gorilla, we investigate many side gigs or opportunities to earn money outside of a normal 9 to 5 job. Captioning is one of those gigs that sounds cool – artistic in a way however how easy is it to obtain captioning work?, how hard is captioning work and how lucrative are home captioning jobs.
Let’s take a look and answer those questions:
1. Captioning work can be a lucrative full time or a side hustle to earn some extra income from home.
2. Qualification requirements are minimal, a great command of English and accurate, fast typing skills is a must.
3. There are various organizations that you can sign up with and start earning some serious $$$
But wait, what’s the difference between Captioning and Transcribing?
Captioning and transcribing are both used to convert audio into written text. However, they are two different processes. Captioning is the process of converting the spoken word into text and timing it to match the video. Transcription is the process of converting any spoken word or sound into written form.
Captioning is a way to make a video accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing by adding captions that provide both dialogue and other relevant sounds such as laughter, background noises, and off-screen voices. Transcription is a way for everyone to read what was said in an audio file or video, regardless of hearing ability.
How much can you earn from a home captioning job?
Surprisingly, captioners earn an average of about $65k or higher yearly (around $35 per hour)! You need to have an accurate and fast typing speed along with some previous work experience. Improving your typing ability will be the most helpful as the application process is mainly focussed on your ability to type what you see and/or hear.
So, What Does a Day in The Life of a Captioner Look Like?
A captioner writes the text that you see on a screen when you watch your favorite show, movie or live event for example. In addition to the jobs mentioned above, the job could entail writing captions for pre-recorded speeches, recording everything that is said in the courtroom or recording what our politicians say for various events.
Some key tasks include:
- Attending live events, writing captions of what is being said in real time
- Writing captions from pre-recorded media files such as videos and/or audio files
- Editing captions to ensure accuracy and timing against source material
- Writing captions for court proceedings
There are two types of captioning roles that you can choose from. These are as follows:
Real Time/Live Captioning
Captioning is a post-production process where subtitles are added to a movie or TV show after filming has ended.
A human translator listens to audio from the chosen media and translates it into written form. The words are then displayed on a separate computer screen so they can be edited before being played back.
Offline captioners usually work in soundproof booths. This helps minimize distractions and ensure accuracy. Their sole goal is to capture what’s being spoken. Captions are entered into the system as soon as they’re ready.
You don’t necessarily have to be in a soundproof booth to do the offline captions jobs we’ve listed in this article. All you really require is a quiet space where you’re not distracted by noise.
How Do Get Work As A Captioner?
Captioning is one of the side gigs to come to the job market yet it is very much ‘in-demand’ and even better the work can be done from home. Below are some of the steps you need to observe in order to make it in the industry.
Develop Your Typing Skills
One of the most important aspects of being a competent captioner is possessing excellent skills in typing. With many captioners required to transcribe captions in real-time or for a certain period, such as reporting live, they need to be able to type fast with great accuracy and precision to boot.
Given that the job is often time-pressured, there are companies who usually ask applicants and candidates alike to undergo a typing test to gauge their skills and competencies. If you want to further develop your skills, you can try your hand at typing test websites so you can keep tabs on your progress. At the very least, being able to type 200 words per minute with a minimum of 98% accuracy should be your goal.
get The Tools for The Trade
Although having relatively fast and accurate typing skills definitely comes in handy, you also need special equipment to make the art of fashioning faster and much more efficient and accurate. Some of these tools include headsets, computers, captioning software, as well as a steno machine, with the latter useful for real-time captioning needs.
Each one of these tools has its corresponding uses. You need to familiarize yourself with these tools so that you can further hone your captioning skills and talents.
Build Your Experience
Experience is the best teacher and you’ll find that this rings true for captioners. In order to remain at the top of your game or to even get your foot in the door, you need to build your captioning experience. This helps you get the edge over other competitors in the field and snag many opportunities.
There are various ways to build your experience, whether it be from finding clients and doing projects to applying for entry-level positions.
Consider Getting Certification
Another way you can set yourself apart in the field of captioning is to get a certification. This lets prospective clients and employers know the qualifications you bring to the table.
One of the certifications available today includes the Certified Realtime Caption (CRC) which measures and certifies your skill level and if you are ready to work in more challenging areas of captioning.
Offered under the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), you can get this by applying to become a member of the said association and taking the exam for the CRC. To maintain this certification, however, you need to get at least three continuing education hours every three years.
Determine Your Employment Status
Closed captioners have various opportunities at their feet when they want to work. They either have the choice of being their own boss or as an employee as there are different positions that either employ freelancers or independent contractors, while there are also companies that are looking for employees.
When you’re making this decision, make sure to account for your work site. If you are an independent contractor, you can work remotely and rarely travel to work sites. On the other hand, if you’re hired as an employee, chances are you might work in an office or be tasked to travel to a particular site.
Get Our There and Start Applying For Jobs
Now that you know which path you’re going to take, you can jumpstart your career as a closed captioner by finding these opportunities. There are dedicated websites and even companies that have remote jobs if you’re interested.
Get Our There and Start Applying For Jobs
You’ve got the skills and the equipment. If you want to put your skills to the test, finding a captioning job is the next order of business. Here are some websites and companies you might want to check out.
Direct Captioning Providers or Services
Netflix is one of the largest leading streaming services in the world. With a rich resource of shows and films, Netflix is a great place to showcase your captioning prowess. They set their sights typically on freelancers and independent remote captioners.
Individuals who get hired for this job can earn around $51,623 a year. This, however, entails that you are highly skilled and have a ton of experience. To apply, you need to check out their careers page for any openings.
Vitac is known as one of the leading providers of closed captioning services in the United States. It prides itself in logging over 260,000 hours of real-time captioning. With the massive amount of captions, it requires in-house employees to work for it, making some exceptions for remote workers who are already seasoned professionals.
To apply, individuals are enjoined to check out the company’s careers page as well. Successful candidates can earn around $40,000 per year on the job.
- VIQ Solutions
Another leader in the closed captioning market is none other than VIQ Solutions, lending its expertise to different companies, shows, and movies. You can earn around $37.5 per hour or $6,000 a month and they extend training on the software they use for captioning.
The application is quite intensive as they do not only a background check, but an employment check as well.
- Aberdeen Broadcast Services
Aberdeen is one of the most well-rounded companies on the list, offering not only captioning services, but also translation and transcription as well. Job wages in the company can go as high as $408 to $551 per hour, but this depends on the department or job of the individual.
Individuals can apply on the Aberdeen website and must fulfill the requirements of the company, such as having two computers, a typing speed of 180 to 220 words per minute, and being able to work remotely.
REV works by bridging captioners with professional video producers. They provide captions to movies, shows, and other types of marketing content in different languages. Workers here can earn around $0.54 to $1.10 per minute.
The company requires a grammar quiz and caption samples to apply. Moreover, applicants are only limited to certain countries and locations, including the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.
- Classroom Captioning
Classroom Captioning is a real-time captioning service designed to help students who are hard of hearing or individuals who are deaf understand what their teacher or instructor is saying in a classroom. This allows users to read translations on their phones or computer screens with the help of its TypeWell captioning program in place.
Individuals who get accepted to the company can get around $30 per hour. However, Classroom Captioning requires individuals to be CART certified to apply, ensuring they can type an average of at least 180 words per minute.
- Vanan Captioning
Vanan Captioning is one of the captioning companies that offer captioning contracts and services to different companies and content providers, including Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon.
With its extensive contracts and services, alongside transcription and translating services with over 100 languages being catered to, there are various opportunities that you can grab. You can apply on the company website by filling out a form providing your personal details and relevant experience.
SpeechPad specialized in providing individuals with a platform where they can create captions for their videos and where they can transcribe their audio files.
There are no minimum requirements for applicants and they can earn $0.25 to $2.50 per video minute. Individuals also have control over their working hours or how much they want to take on, perfect for those who are casual captioners or who are just starting out.
- National Captioning Institute
A key player in the captioning industry is the National Captioning Institute. This non-government organization partners with and extends aid to universities, local and national networks, and publishers across North America.
It specializes in real-time transcription and closed captioning services and gives around $35,000 per year to individuals working in the company, equipped with training in various captioning aspects. There are various shifts in the company and applicants must be amenable to work in any of these positions as well as hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
- ACS Service
Otherwise known as Alternative Communication Services, this platform lends its captioning, translating, and interpreting services to those who are deaf and hard of hearing.
.ACS pays an average of $20 to $79.84 per hour depending on the position. There are on-site jobs as well as remote opportunities within the company. Applicants should at least have a typing speed of more than 180 words per minute.
- AI Media
AI Media offers closed captioning and live captioning services to various TV companies and more, including the likes of Amazon, Mozilla, Facebook, and Shopify. Successful candidates can make around $42 per video hour and around $39,000 to $43,000 per year.
There are various opportunities for freelancers under AI Media in different parts of the globe, but with a particular focus on Australia and the United Kingdom. Individuals have some freedom in choosing the schedule they want when working in the company, but they should have 3 to 5 years of experience and have a typing speed of at least 180 words per minute.
GoTranscript is one of the largest transcription companies around the globe and provides transcription and captioning services across numerous languages.
Individuals working in the company get a pay rate of $0.60 per video or audio minute and around $150 to $200 per month. However, before taking the job, applicants need to pass a test. This is a great gig for freelancers who are looking to make some bank.
Despite its name, TranscribeMe! is more than just a platform for online transcription jobs. There are also other captioning jobs available on the platform.
The company boasts of having some of the best rates in the industry, giving around $15 to $22 per audio hour, giving individuals top monthly earnings of $2,200. Freelancers are more than welcome to apply as TranscribeMe! gives them the ability to work from home, transcribe and caption short clips, and be guided by experts.
- Capital Captions
Capital Captions is a captioning company based in the United Kingdom. Besides captioning, the firm also offers transcription services, subtitling, and voiceover services. They have worked with different companies and media stations such as Sky News.
Working for Capital Captions is perhaps one of the easiest positions for beginners out there as the company only requires you to write at a typing speed of 65 words per minute. Apart from this, applicants are also expected to have their own closed captioning software and relevant experience in the field.
The captioning scene offers lots of opportunities for freelancers. Captioners can start with Fiverr, a gig marketplace where service providers can sell their services, which potential clients can browse and buy.
This platform is home to all kinds of gigs and clients, making it the perfect option for freelance captioners. You can start by signing up for a Fiverr account.
Whereas Fiverr is a marketplace where clients can buy services, Upwork offers a more straightforward approach by letting service providers bid for gigs that they want to do. This platform has a wide variety of options at different rates, so you can look for high-paying captioning jobs.
To apply, simply create an Upwork account and start looking for captioning gigs. The thing about this platform is that you need to connect to submit proposals.
CaptioningStar offers a more challenging task, especially as it caters to high-profile clients such as LinkedIn, Grammy, Harvard University, California State University, and The University of Memphis, just to name a few.
It requires higher captioning accuracy for open, closed, broadcast, and live captions. This platform offers more premium pay.
- Caption Max
Caption Max is another platform with premium clients with a presence in different industries such as media and entertainment, corporate, education, and government offering closed captioning, localization, description, and transcription.
This platform works with big companies such as Sony Pictures and NBC Universal. Given this, captioners can expect to get premium rates.
FlexJobs is another freelancing site that lets you find gigs that they are qualified to do. Its job board feature provides the ability to sift through jobs in different career categories including captioning. Its clients are high-profile, as well, such as TTEC, Apple, SalesForce, Pearson, SAP, United Healthcare, Xerox, and more.
The platform has more than 28,000 jobs from almost 6,000 companies, opening lots of opportunities for different people.
- 3Play Media
3Play Media is a haven for freelance captioners because it goes through a wide variety of audio-visual content that needs captioning. It is the home of around 2,000 clients, so captioners will be able to get jobs from this platform.
The best part is that it is not only focused on captioning gigs, but other opportunities for those interested to specialize in this space.
- Caption Depot
This beginner-friendly site allows newbies to put their captioning skills into practice, especially with clients like YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. All jobs are available for remote locations, making it another great choice for freelancers.
Doing video captions for this site can result in any regular captioner earning around $200, depending on their workload.
This platform is a challenging one to enter as freelancers must first pass its recruitment test before they can even view or apply for jobs, after passing, you can easily browse its catalog and send a proposal.
It is important to remember that freelancers are free to impose their rates, so they can earn as much or as little as they want using this website.
Guru is another freelancing site that offers captioning gigs. This gives them a chance to pick a job and work on it at home, as long as they submit it on time.
The pay can depend on your rate, skill, and experience, as well as the performance you were able to show the client.
- Bunny Studio
Captioners looking for a dedicated website for gigs in this space will be glad to know about Bunny Studio. It works with big brands such as Atlassian, AirBnB, Dell, and Sonos, just to name a few.
Earning through Bunny Studio requires skill and experience because it aims to provide professional services for its high-profile clients.
Beginners and experienced captioners alike would be glad to know that there are lots of websites out there that provide opportunities, even for newbies. Those wanting to upskill or simply develop a new one will definitely find a gold mine of opportunities in this space.
Plus, it rarely requires experience in captioning, making it a great stepping stone for new freelancers. Interested? Start your search now and begin your budding career as a captioner!