$ Ka- Ching! Caption your way to extra cash!
If you’ve got typing skills, a whole host of companies have jobs for you as an at-home captioner—that’s when you listen to recordings of pre-taped shows and movies and type what you hear so it can be converted into closed captions!
✔ ACQUIRE THE SKILLS! If you’re a fast typist with a good grasp of spelling and grammar, you can make from 60 cents to $1 per audio minute to transcribe movies and shows, says Sanjay Chabra of Talking Type Captions, whose clients include A&E, Amazon and PBS stations. And to really up your skills— and make yourself in demand— check out the National Court Reporters Association’s website (NCRA.COM) for video and e-seminars that provide instruction on captioning skills. In addition, you can watch Youtube tutorials on how to use popular transcription software, such as Express Scribe. “You can learn it in a day,” assures Chabra, who adds there’s even a free version of the software. Same goes for captioning software such as Subtitle Edit and Subtitle Workshop. Also smart? Practice by writing captions for a show on a streaming service like Netflix. Then, re-watch the show with the closed captions turned on to see how yours compare.
✔ GET GIGS! Log on to captioning companies such as Talking Type Captions (Talkingtypecaptions.com), VITAC (Vitac.com) and RNK Productions (Rnkproductions.com) and apply through their sites. Chabra sends applicants a test and looks for accuracy as well as quick turnaround since meeting tight deadlines is key. Know
✔ EARN MORE! The faster you work, the more you’ll make. So it pays to invest in noise-canceling headphones and a foot pedal that lets you quickly back up, pause or forward the audio. And take advantage of word-processing shortcuts. For example, in Microsoft Word, you can set up a shortcut that lets you, say, get the word “the” every time you enter the letter “t.” ( Just search for “Macros” in the Help menu for an easy how-to.) Another suggestion? “If you know a new transcription is about cars and the names will be repeated several times, tailor your shortcuts to the project,” says Chabra, who adds it can cut your time by 30% to 40%. Spanish? Definitely include that on your application! “Almost all programs have to be translated into Spanish,” says Chabra. “And if you know Spanish, you can earn 10% to 20% more.”