how to get started in captioning
I am asked this question at least once a week: "How do I get started in captioning?"

Coast 2 Coast Captioning offers the Broadcast Captioning Training (BCT) Series, a series of webinars which covers every topic you will need to know in order to be a broadcast captioner and/or stadium captioner. There are nine webinars, two hours each. These webinars were recorded earlier this year (except Introduction to Broadcast Captioning, which was updated in April 2013), and the cost is $75 per webinar. You can earn up to 1.8 NCRA CEU's. The accompanying Broadcast Captioning Training Manual, which I created, is available and required for the webinars.


Once you have completed at least six of the webinars, I will be available for one-on-one follow-up training. At that time, I will offer you guidance on next steps. I will evaluate your practice files and give you advice. I am always available via email if you have questions along the way, however, so feel free to reach out. It is important that your realtime skills are at a certain level before the follow-up training, as most of that will be done on your own and at your own pace.

Contact me for rate information. We will use GoToMeeting to communicate during the sessions. We will be able to share each other's screens.

There are many webinars within the BCT series that will benefit you as it relates to your realtime training. You may want to order the CART Provider's Guide, to get you started with the ins and outs of CART, and to complete the Broadcast Captioning Training Series. I also recommend these free documents located on the Products page, the first of which I helped create during my time with the NCRA Captioning Community of Interest. A good percentage of this document was taken right from my Training Manual:

Realtime Broadcast Captioning: Recommended Style and Format Guidelines for U.S. Programming

Consumer Awareness and Recommended Style and Format Guidelines for Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Providers

The next thing I suggest is to join the Yahoo! Broadcast Captioners Group.
You'll need to create a Yahoo! account first and then subscribe. There is a great deal of information there. Read through all of the past threads before posting a question, though.  Chances are your questions have been answered.  Also peruse the Files section. 

Network with other captioners! NCRA has a CART group on Facebook. NCRA has a Captioning group on Facebook. And LinkedIn also has a Broadcast Captioning & CART Group.

There is also a lot of information and related links on
NCRA's websiteGary Robson is very
well-known in the industry and has written a lot of articles on captioning. I suggest beginning to change your writing. Another great tool is Realtime Coach. Coming soon: Bryan University will be offering online captioning classes.

After you change your writing, begin dictionary building. There are two great tools for that: Dictionary Jumpstart and Catapult. But be careful not to begin adding all of these words to your dictionary until you have made significant changes to your writing or you may have to do it all over again.

There are also a number of captioning-related E-seminars offered through NCRA.

Finally, I suggest going to every seminar, workshop and/or boot camp related to captioning that you can find. NCRA annual conventions will have at least three seminars related to captioning each year. If your realtime is not up to par, you may want to attend an Anita Paul seminar.

As far as equipment, Stenograph offers captioning software called BCS, which is an add-on to CaseCatalyst. However, I highly recommend Eclipse AccuCap because I'm biased! It is definitely a personal choice, though, and I would urge you to do some research before making a final decision.  There are other pieces of equipment required for captioning, which I also cover in my Broadcast Captioning Training Webinar series.

CART Captioning and Broadcast Captioning are wonderful, challenging, and exciting careers.  The journey from court reporter to CART Captioner and/or Broadcast Captioner involves hard work, a lot of time, a great deal determination, and dedication. There are no shortcuts, and it is not easy; however, it is well worth the effort once you arrive. I wish you good luck in your journey and hope I can assist you along the way.