Actor Tom Hanks ‘hearts’ captioning

Photo by David Kindler

NCRA member Jo Gayle, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance captioner from Chicago, Ill., recently earned a shout-out from actor Tom Hanks for her captioning skills during an event held by the Chicago Humanities Festival. The JCR Weekly reached out to Gayle to find out more about being recognized by an international celebrity for her skills. The JCR Weekly also reached out to Brittany Pyle, director of production and audience experience for the Chicago Humanities Festival, to learn more about the benefits captioning brings to audiences.

NCRA member Jo Gayle, RPR, CRR, CRC

JCR | How did you connect with the Chicago Humanities organization?
JG | I was asked by a captioning company to caption some of their events.

JCR | How long have you been captioning for them?
JG | Three years, since fall of 2015.

JCR | What types of events do you caption for them and how often?
JG | I started out just captioning a few events, but this fall I did 15 events as well as a day-long marathon of interviews that I split with a remote captioner. The events are either interviews or lectures, and the Humanities Festival chooses which ones will be captioned based on audience interest and accessibility requests.

JCR | What do you enjoy most about working with this organization?
JG | They are extremely accommodating when it comes to making sure I have a comfortable and accessible work space. Also I’ve enjoyed the diversity of events and the famous people I’ve been able to caption: Alan Alda, Gloria Steinem, Al Gore, and James Comey, just to name a few.

JCR | What were you captioning when Tom Hanks gave you a shout-out?
JG | He was doing an interview with Peter Sagal of NPR to discuss his love of writing and his collection of short stories, Uncommon Type.

JCR | Did you know he was going to do that?
JG | What happened was they did not know the event was being captioned and only discovered it when they looked at the screen behind them that was going to display audience questions.

Here’s the back and forth from the transcript:

PETER SAGAL: We have a couple of questions from members of the audience who submitted them earlier. We selected a few. We’ll put them up on the screen.
TOM HANKS: Oh, really?
PETER SAGAL: Yes.
TOM HANKS: I thought this was a temporary graphic.
I just realized that. Has that gone on? So you get to say I read the best interview with Tom Hanks. Anybody deaf that is actually doing it? Anybody hearing-impaired?
PETER SAGAL: Hello, I am the person typing the captions.
THE CAPTIONER: That’s me.
(Laughter and applause.)
TOM HANKS: Let’s hear it — are they up here or back there?
THE CAPTIONER: I’m up here.
(Laughter and applause.)
PETER SAGAL: That’s great.
We actually do have some questions for you so we can put them up.
TOM HANKS: That is hilarious. I’m sorry. That is just fantastic. I’m sorry, that is truly fantastic.
“Which character in your book do you love the most and why,” says Jill. There you go. We want Jill’s name up there twice. I think that’s fabulous.
(Applause.)

JG | I felt I had to insert myself in there so they would know it was an actual person doing the captioning and not voice recognition or artificial intelligence.

JCR | What was your reaction?
JG | I got a big kick out of it, but I was overwhelmed when I received this email from him through the Humanities Festival:

You tell Jo Gayle that she made our night! A personality to go with those magic words! It was an honor to share the stage with her! Tell her that, or better yet, send her a text one word at a time … It was a grand night,
Tom Hanks

JCR | Did you get to meet him?
JG | No, unfortunately.

JCR | Have you met any other celebrities through this work?
JG | Alan Alda is the only celebrity I’ve met.

JCR | How long have you been a captioner?
JG | I’ve been a court reporter since 1980, and I transitioned into CART in 2004. I don’t do broadcast captioning, only CART captioning. Transitioning into CART was the best career move I ever made!

JCR | How did you learn about the court reporting/captioning profession?
JG | After four years of college and two years of grad school, I couldn’t find a job in what I majored in (mass communications), so my father, who was an attorney, told me about the court reporters he worked with and actually found a reporting school for me. I looked into it and found my niche.

This whole experience has been unreal. From getting the shout-out from Tom Hanks to having the event posted on both the NCRA and Illinois Court Reporters Association Facebook pages and in an email from the Chicago Humanities Festival to their subscribers has been beyond my wildest dreams! And the recognition from my colleagues is the topping on the cake!

 


Captioning provides accessibility

Here is what Brittany Pyle, director of production and audience experience for the Chicago Humanities Festival, said about the benefits that captioning brings to audiences.

JCR | How long have you offered captioning services to your audiences?
BP | We implemented open captions at our events in fall 2015.

JCR | What prompted your organization to begin providing captioning of your events?
BP | The Chicago Humanities Festival is committed to accessibility for all audience members. Back in 2015, I was learning a lot from my involvement with the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC). Based on audience feedback, I sensed that many people in our audience identified as being hard of hearing, and some audience members were deaf but ASL interpretation was not their preference. Being able to understand what a person is saying on stage is the primary value of our events. It became clear to me that making realtime captions available and visible to everyone in the room was going to be a clear benefit to our audience’s experience.

JCR | How long have you used the services of Jo Gayle?
BP | We’ve worked with Jo Gayle since the beginning of utilizing live event captions in 2015. We also work with a few other talented captioners in Chicago. We have so many events running at one time that we often need more than one captioner on a given day!

JCR | You mentioned that she is your go-to person for captioning services. Why is that?
BP | Jo has amazing accuracy. I’m very impressed by how she can listen to a fast talker rattle off complicated terminology and get it perfectly right on the screen. She works very hard to prepare for our events. She and I work together in advance to make sure she has everything we know about a particular speaker, words they might use, the correct spelling of names. Jo does a lot of prep work on her own, looking up videos of that person, learning their speech cadence, things they often talk about when they’re giving a presentation. If our audience members can spot her in a theater, they will flock to her after an event to thank her for how much her captioning helped them get more out of the event.

JCR | What would you say to other organizations considering offering captioning services to their audiences?
BP | It is so worth budgeting for this accessible service. I find captions to be beneficial to a wide audience. It makes our events inclusive of people who are deaf or hard of hearing but also elevates an experience that could be less than ideal, say, in an acoustically challenging church or helps aid understanding if a speaker has a heavy accent. I would also urge other organizations to aim for open captions (as opposed to closed captions on a device) so that they are integrated into the entire experience, and someone can see them from any seat in the house without having to self-identify. I would also urge organizations to make it easy and transparent for a person to request the service of open captions from your organization.

JCR | Please feel free to add any additional information you think would be helpful for the article.
BP | The Chicago Humanities Festival is a guest in over 40 venues per year, producing roughly 130 events per year. We try to make our events as accessible as possible by showcasing how to request accessible accommodations on our website when buying tickets, and our audience services representatives are trained to ask each ticket buyer if they require accessible accommodations as part of their order when speaking to people on the phone. While we haven’t been able to afford to caption all 130 events just yet, we do budget for requests, pre-schedule captioning in venues that would benefit from them, and we are always fundraising and applying for grants hoping to increase the number of events with open captions. I also think it would be a logistical challenge to get realtime captioners at 130 events, since a demand at that volume would certainly exceed the number of qualified captioners in Chicago! I would love it if more colleges and trade schools provided a pipeline into this growing field of realtime captioning for accessibility.

Don’t miss the savings: Early registration rates end Dec. 10

Early registration rates end Dec. 10 for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit being held Feb. 1-3 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, Calif. Don’t miss this opportunity to take your business and yourself to a whole new level.

Freelancers, firm owners, and managers all will find something in the expanded program, which will feature business-focused education and access to high-end speakers. The schedule also includes experts who will not only inspire your business development but will also become a part of your network to help bolster your company into the future, as well as compelling panel discussions on topics critical to the growth of the profession, and even more networking opportunities than in previous years.

Also making a comeback is the Super Bowl Party to close out the event – another great reason to stay overnight Sunday for an extra few days to really get to know this one-of-a-kind city.

Highlights of this resource-packed event include:

Ann marie Houghtailing, entrepreneur, storyteller, and business coach, will present her Storytelling & Business Development session. Houghtailing, who launched her practice as a business development expert in 2009 with only $5 in her pocket, a MacBook, and a truckload of tenacity in the worst economic climate of her life, developed the Corporate Alliance Partner for the Institute for Sales and Business Development at the University of San Diego, Calif., just one year later. Today, she holds the reputation as one of the most sought-after business development and storytelling experts in the country and speaks regularly on narrative leadership and how to use storytelling as a tool of influence in business with her trademarked Narrative Imprinting® process.

Past NCRA Director Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas, who is known for his popular Depoman.com forum, which provided court reporters with a medium to share insights and address common issues from 1997 to 2015. Also recognized for his Tough Love session, Miller will lead a seminar called “Tough Love Part 2,” that will challenge most sacred beliefs about the business of court reporting with a focus on why being stuck in 1985 isn’t going to alleviate any of the issues faced by agencies and reporters in the 21st century.

Also on the schedule is Eunice Carpitella, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, who will serve as keynote speaker. She will address the practical idea that simple shifts in our routine patterns of interaction and mindset make it possible for business leaders to include, engage, and unleash everyone in solving problems, driving innovation, and achieving extraordinary outcomes.

Don’t wait. Register now and take advantage of the early registration rates for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit before they end on Dec. 10. Attendees can save even more money by booking their hotel now before the guaranteed room block ends Jan. 8, 2019. Online registration for the 2019 Business Summit closes Jan. 20, 2019, and onsite registration and pricing starts Jan. 21, 2019.

Don’t forget, February is the perfect time to book early and stay late to enjoy the beauty, sunshine, and numerous attractions San Diego has to offer.

Take your German depositions to Amsterdam

A blog posted on Nov. 26 by JD Supra addresses the benefits of taking German depositions to The Netherlands.

Read more.

Griffin & Associates announces name change to Griffin Group International

Griffin & Associates, Arizona’s largest court reporting firm, announced in a press release issued Nov. 1 that the firm has changed its name to Griffin Group International and has introduced a new captioning service.

Read more.

Become an expert advocate and leader for your profession

The 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp promises to provide attendees with an experience like no other when it comes to learning firsthand the power of advocacy and the influence good leadership can achieve.

The 2019 event is being held May 5-7 and will include two full days of training, exploration, and hands-on activities designed to give everyone who attends the takeaways necessary to become successful advocates and leaders in the profession at the local, state, and national level. Training will end with role-playing and mock interviews to help prepare attendees for the final day of the event, which culminates with visits with Washington, D.C., lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The site of the 2019 event is the Embassy Suites by Hilton, in historic Alexandria Old Town, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Anyone in the court reporting, captioning, or legal videography professions wanting to grow and hone their advocacy and leadership skills should make plans to attend the 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp.

Watch the JCR Weekly and JCR magazine for more details and information about registration for this one-of-a-kind event.

Veritext Legal Solutions expands its presence in Southern California

Veritext Legal Solutions has expanded its presence in Southern California this summer with the recent acquisition of three California court reporting firms: Personal Court Reporters, Kramm Court Reporting, and M&M Court Reporters. Each of these firms share Veritext’s commitment to quality services.

Read more.

Learn how storytelling builds your business at NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit

Ann marie Houghtailing

Ann marie Houghtailing, entrepreneur, storyteller, and business coach, will present her Storytelling & Business Development session at NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit being held Feb. 1-3 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, Calif.

Houghtailing, who launched her practice as a business development expert in 2009 with only $5 in her pocket, a Macbook, and a truckload of tenacity in the worst economic climate of her life, developed the Corporate Alliance Partner for the Institute for Sales and Business Development at the University of San Diego, Calif., just one year later. Today, she has the reputation of being one of the most sought-after business development and storytelling experts in the country and speaks regularly on Narrative Leadership and how to use storytelling as a tool of influence in business with her trademarked Narrative Imprinting® process.

Participants can expect to learn an array of skills from Houghtailing, including:

  • An understanding of why our brains love storytelling
  • How to use a character-driven story to increase emotional connection, build trust, and create relationships
  • How to evaluate current processes to increase narrative impact
  • The importance of threading narrative and questions throughout the consultation process
  • How to use presentations and consultations to influence your audience
  • How to synthesize information into narrative
  • How to make your presentations and consultations memorable
  • How to increase conversion rates through narrative imprinting
  • How to be memorable

According to Houghtailing, to establish trust and build relationships, we have to create a Narrative Imprint™. The ability to hold someone’s attention and create trust through narrative recognition is critical throughout the business development process from casual meetings to consultations and presentations.

“We now know that storytelling creates a bond between teller and listener,” said Houghtailing. “Old modalities of features and benefits and mission statements are not effective or sustainable. Training professional service providers to be excellent communicators and storytellers accelerates the relationship development process, increases conversion rates, and infuses the consultative process with humanity and elegance. People may not remember the features and benefits of your service, but they will never forget the story you told them about how you saved a company millions, increased revenue, or transformed leadership.”

Mike Miller

Houghtailing will join past NCRA Director Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas, who is known for his popular Depoman.com forum, which provided court reporters with a medium to share insights and address common issues from 1997 to 2015. Also recognized for his Tough Love session, Miller will lead a seminar called “Tough Love Part 2,” which will challenge the most sacred beliefs about the business of court reporting with a focus on why being stuck in 1985 isn’t going to alleviate any of the issues faced by agencies and reporters in the 21st century.

Eunice Carpitella

Also on the schedule is Eunice Carpitella, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, who will serve as keynote speaker. She will address the practical idea that simple shifts in our routine patterns of interaction and mindset make it possible for business leaders to include, engage, and unleash everyone in solving problems, driving innovation, and achieving extraordinary outcomes.

Early registration rates end Dec. 10, for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit. To save even more money, attendees are encouraged to book their hotel now before the guaranteed room block ends Jan. 8, 2019. Online registration for the 2019 Business Summit closes Jan. 20, 2019, and onsite registration and pricing starts Jan. 21, 2019.

Don’t forget, February is the perfect time to book early and stay late to enjoy the beauty, sunshine, and numerous attractions San Diego has to offer.

Celebrate 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week with NCSA Annual Challenge

2019 NCRA Court Reporting & Captioning Week

Support and promote the court reporting and captioning professions by taking part in NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations’ (NCSA) Fifth Annual State Challenge and earn a chance at winning the grand prize of a free registration to the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo. The first-prize winner will receive five free NCRA webinars.

The NCSA challenge calls on all state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. The challenge will culminate during NCRA’s 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 9-16. The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to reach out through career fairs and other activities to spread the word about the viable career paths of court reporting and captioning.

“You never realize just how much difference one presentation at a high school can make. There are so many people (students) who do not realize our profession even exists and the various types of reporting there are: official, freelance, and CART and broadcast captioning. You do not have to be perfect or a pro at public speaking to pull off a presentation. All you need is your machine and your laptop and the ability to do a realtime demo. Anything else is icing on the cake. The students will be in awe of what you can do — while at the same time showing them how you can kick Siri’s butt in translating the spoken word. Get out there and participate in Court Reporting & Captioning Week and the NCSA Challenge!” said NCSA Chair Huey L. Bang, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Pass Christian, Miss.

“With the shortage of reporters in the field, it’s more important than ever to let the public know what a reporter actually does and that you can make a good living while doing it. We need more people entering the field, and the only way to make that happen is to spread the word and do a demonstration at your local schools,” he added.

To help members and state associations celebrate the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA has available resources on NCRA.org/Awareness that includes press release templates, media advisories, activity ideas, and more. Other available resources include templates for official proclamations recognizing the week, flyers and logos, and materials for schools to use to help celebrate as well. This year’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week will mark the seventh year the Association has hosted the event.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a great opportunity for us all to really take a little time to introduce our great profession to the world. Whether it’s a presentation at a local high school, a brief segment on the local news, or even discussing amongst friends what it is we do as court reporters and captioners, you could make a difference in someone’s life who would love this career path,” said NCSA Vice-Chair Carol Naughton, RPR, an official court reporter from Virginia Beach, Va.

“It’s always exciting to hear the different and unique ways states are getting involved and making a difference. I’m sure this year will be no different,” added Naughton, who is also immediate past president of the Virginia Court Reporters Association (VCRA).

“While doing an actual demonstration at a college or high school may be the quickest way to get someone into our profession, I encourage my state association and any individuals who can to get their state legislature to have a proclamation passed recognizing the week,” said Bang. “Whether it’s on the state level or your municipal level, it just gets people talking about what we do,” Bang added.

According to Naughton, VCRA is planning a social media challenge to celebrate the 2019 week. “While I’m not at liberty to share what’s up our sleeves, I can say that your state association may be called upon to meet our challenge. We may even challenge NCRA! So you better be ready!”

To learn more about NCSA’s State Challenge or to participate, visit NCRA.org/StateAssociations.

U.S. Legal Support earns top honors

In a press release issued Nov. 19, U.S. Legal Support, Miami, Fla., announced that readers of The Daily Business Review voted the firm 2018’s #1 in a number of categories, including best court reporting service.

Read more.

Top six benefits of hiring the right court reporting services

Conservative Daily News posted an article on Nov. 16 listing the top six benefits of hiring the right court reporting services.

Read more.