I fire up the computer, turn on the modem, punch the TV remote control, hit the on button on my other computer, flip the button on my steno machine, open the file — and then I remember this is on Icap. I don’t need the modem for this show. I turn off the modem.
I am captioning golf tonight, the Talisker Masters, from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. from Melbourne, Australia. I’d better pull up the leaderboard on Google and check the spelling of those Asian names. I glance at Spark, the National Captioning Institute Messaging System, and see that there are 37 captioners online captioning television shows all over the world. Only a handful will still be online when I finish my assigned show in the early morning.
I sit in my office chair in cotton pajamas alongside my bed, a candle burning on my dresser. A bag of Cheez-its and mug of coffee is close by — but not so close to my equipment that if I knocked it over, it would be a disaster. I swallow a quick gulp in between strokes on my steno machine.
I have a long night ahead, but golf is easy to caption compared to hockey. I can see my captions on the Golf Channel without having to rely only on an audio feed (more commonly known as a telephone).
Such is the life of a closed captioner. I have been providing closed captioning for television for the past 15 years. I work from my home — that has allowed me to stay at home and raise my two daughters — a good thing since I am a single mother by choice. I adopted my two daughters, now 14 and 21 years old, from Nepal and Vietnam. I also homeschooled them (my ninth grader is in a private school-home school program in high school now, which is nice).
I feel blessed to have the job I have, which pays well, but I hope to launch a new career as an author. I just finished my Masters in Creative Writing and published my fourth book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, A Young Adult Christian Fantasy. Writing books is my passion, but closed captioning pays the bills. At 57 years old, I continue to follow my dreams, knowing God will lead me, and for that, I am grateful.