Media watch

The following summaries are provided for information purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement from NCRA or anyone connected with NCRA. Links are provided for articles but may not be available at the time of publication.

HOW TO BECOME A FREELANCE COURT REPORTER

Published on the Stenographer Salary HQ website, an article called “How to Become a Freelance Court Reporter” discusses the steps as well as provides a link to what is required by state. The Stenographer Salary HQ website provides stenographer and court reporting wages and career information.

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LEGAL TECH SURVEY BY ABA

Evan Koblentz reported on Law Technology News (law.com) on July 26, 2012, that the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Technology Survey received more than 5,000 responses from attorneys. The survey showed insights about cloud computing, data backups, e-discovery, and social media.

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LEADING MEMBER OF ABA WARNS GOVERNMENTS AGAINST COURT CUTS

On July 9, 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that on a visit to Australia, outgoing president of the American Bar Association mentioned that U.S. state courts have been left in a “dire situation” due to budget cuts. These budget cuts, some of which have run to hundreds of millions of dollars, have forced the closure of some courts. Cut have also led to bottlenecks in management of cases.

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FORBES LISTS COURT REPORTING AMONG TOP JOBS WITHOUT A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE

Forbes, in conjunction with MSNBC.com, named court reporting as one of the best jobs that doesn’t require a four-year degree. Stenographer/court reporter comes in at sixth on the list, with an average starting salary of $26,000 (a number that clearly is much too low), and employment growth of 14.10 percent. While Forbes only mentions the starting salary, it should be noted that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for the profession to be a healthy $47,700 with a similarly positive growth outlook.

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NETFLIX SEEKS PERMISSION TO APPEAL ORDER TO COMPLY WITH ADA

The National Law Journal website reported on July 31, 2012, that Netflix asked a federal judge in Massachusetts for permission to appeal his ruling that the American Disabilities Act of 1990 requires the company to provide closed-captioning text for its web-only streaming video. The article states that Netflix filed a motion on July 27.

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STATE COURTS CONCERNED ABOUT LOSING JUDGES DUE TO NO SALARY GROWTH

In an article published on the law blog of the Wall Street Journal website on July 24, 2012, Chelsea Phipps reports that state courts are worried about experienced judges leaving, perhaps due to salaries that have flatlined over the past two years. The article states that judicial salaries are increasing at a yearly rate of less than 1 percent according to the National Center for State Court’s Survey of Judicial Salaries.

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HOBART COLLEGE OF COURT REPORTING RECEIVED $300,000 GRANT

In a post on August 1, 2012, on the Hobart Community College website, Deborah Laverty reported that Hobart College of Court Reporting in Indiana has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In the article, Jay Vettickal, who serves as executive director for Hobart College of Court Reporting, states that the funding will augment the school’s training capacity, with the goal of increasing the number of graduates working in real time captioning jobs.

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Washington watch

NCRA promotes hearing health rights

In late July, NCRA, through the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance, submitted letters to all U.S. Senators, asking for their support in ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006. Taking one of the most significant steps to date to help promote and ensure disability rights globally, the CRPD is the first international treaty to protect disability rights on a global scale and establish a standard to help people with disabilities participate in society.

Like all treaties, the CRPD requires 67 senators to vote in favor of ratification. The treaty passed out of the Senate’s Foreign Relations committee by a vote of 13- 6. The treaty requires the following provisions from all countries that have ratified it:

  • Non-discrimination against individuals with disabilities;
  • Allowing individuals with disabilities full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
  • Respect for differences and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; and
  • Equality of opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

In July 2009, the United States signed the CRPD, becoming the 142nd country to sign on in support. Today, 153 countries have signed on to the treaty and 112 of those have ratified the treaty, including key United States alliances such as Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, and many European nations. The Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance is a coalition that consists of organizations with a strong interest in promoting public policy and education on issues affecting the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. NCRA is a current member of the DHHA. NCRA stands ready to work with the United States Senate to ratify the CRPD. Please contact NCRA’s Government Relations Department (govrelations@ncra.org) with any questions.

LOCAL COURTHOUSE SAFETY ACT PASSES OUT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

On September 11, 2012, the Local Court house Safety Act of 2012 cleared a critical hurdle by passing out of the House of Representatives. The legislation still must pass the United States Senate and be signed by President Obama in order to become law. If it is passed into law, the Local Courthouse Safety Act will allow courthouses to receive unused security equipment like metal detectors, wands, and baggage screeners from federal agencies. It will also allow courthouses to allocate existing federal funding toward security training for court personnel. Essentially, this law strengthens security at courthouses around the country and provides excess equipment to help local security personnel better do their jobs.

The Local Courthouse Safety Act previously passed out of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee’s with bipartisan support and little opposition.

NCRA’s Government Relations Department has taken an active role with members of Congress in promoting the importance of this vital piece of legislation and will continue to do so over the coming months until the bill is signed into law. NCRA appreciates the leadership and hard work done by the initial sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida.

NCRA is committed to seeing this important legislation progress, and our Government Relations team is working closely with the Senate to get this legislation passed.

For more information on the Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012, contact NCRA’s Government Relations Department (govrelations@ncra.org) with any questions.

COURTING DISASTER PROMISES REVOLUTIONARY LEARNING AND BRAINY FUN

NCRA is pleased to announce the release of Courting Disaster, the first online learning game designed to simulate the unique challenges that court reporters face every day. The game will be free to play and will offer a one-of-a-kind interactive learning experience for court reporters, students, and anyone interested in the reporting profession.

Reporters will have the option to claim CEU credit by purchasing a follow-up e-seminar that explores the issues encountered in the game in more detail. Check out Courting Disaster—it will be the most fun you’ve ever had learning! Visit www.ncra.org/courtingdisaster to play the game.

 

English

Ten years ago, I was returning from a vacation with my family on an airplane. My eight-year-old son, Ryan, was particularly excited about watching the in-flight movie. He’d talked about it for most of the week while we were on vacation. Once on the plane, even though the movie Ocean’s Eleven was a bit advanced for an eight-year-old, I couldn’t say “no” and thus paid the flight attendant five bucks for the headphones, and so Ryan settled down to watch Danny Ocean rob the Bellagio. After 15 minutes, Ryan turned to me looking very confused and, in a voice that was way too loud for an airplane, asked, “Is this whole movie in Spanish?”

Fixing the problem for Ryan was a matter of dropping one channel to acquire the audio in English. An adult would have fixed the problem within two seconds, but an eight-year-old who was experiencing his first trip on an airplane didn’t know any better. And it didn’t occur to me either that Ryan would endure 10 minutes of dialogue in Spanish or that he wouldn’t know how to change the channel to get the English.

From what I can tell, there’s a similar dynamic that goes on in the court reporting profession. There exists an abundance of technical terms and services that are well known to members of the immediate court reporting community, but the nuance and potential benefit is foreign to the consumers of those services. In short, clients and constituents don’t know what they don’t know. It’s only by taking the time periodically to look at your products and services through the eyes of an eight-year-old that the need for providing the most basic description of what it is that you do and how it can benefit your clients will become clear to them.

Three years ago, we had not yet even heard the word “iPad.” Today, it is omnipresent, and 29 percent of NCRA members own a “tablet,” also a new word for us. Of those NCRA members who don’t own a tablet, 26 percent intend to purchase one in the next year. As I watch and hear the conversations of the technophiles among NCRA’s membership, more and more, the talk has turned to streaming realtime to tablets and smart phones. This is revolutionary, but does anyone other than court reporters have the first clue about how this would work?

Imagine the possibilities for attorneys and judges with realtime feeds of proceedings arriving to their iPads. Seriously, how cool is that? How much more valuable does a court reporter become when you can deliver your product directly to the judges’ and attorneys’ tablets?

But when you go out to explain, make sure you’re not speaking Spanish (unless, of course, the people to whom you’re speaking want you to speak Spanish, in which case, “Viva realtime!”). Don’t assume they even know what realtime is, even if they think they do. Explain it in the most basic terms. Then move into how the latest technology — streaming and tablets and smart phones — allows the full capabilities of realtime and stenographic court reporting to come to life.

We continually hear from NCRA members that you want wider recognition and appreciation of stenographic reporters among external audiences. This is an effort that is underway and that has many moving parts. As always, we are asking NCRA members to carry the message to your clients and to your communities as a major component of the StenAdvocate Program. When you do, please ensure that you’re narrowing your message to what really matters to your clients and constituents. Make sure you’re speaking the right language.

 

Nothing stays the same

Tami SmithA dear friend of mine often tells me that nothing stays the same. She’s so right. Circumstances change and life changes. Sometimes it seems like it would be nice if everything did stay the same; we’d go to work in the same place, our friends wouldn’t relocate, families would remain intact, and life would be routine.

But who wants that? Do you want to be in a rut day after day after day? I don’t. Yes, challenges are hard to handle. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is scary, but if you don’t step outside that zone, you’re destined to become stagnant — and worse than that — boring!

This year NCRA is focusing its efforts on recruiting more students into the profession. In order to do this, there are a number of things we should do — and one thing we must do, which is to take our pride in our profession to the streets. Aren’t you tired of always having to use your fingers to mimic writing on the machine and say, “Yes, I’m the person in the courtroom using that funny little machine”? It’s long past time that everyone knows what a court reporter is, and it’s up to all of us to deliver that message. We’re going to give you the tools to deliver that message, and that message can go to your local newspapers or television or radio stations, your local school system or colleges, a local military base, your favorite forum or social media site — anywhere there’s an audience for that message.

While we’re all working on educating the general public about court reporting, it’s up to all of us to encourage the students in our training programs to dream about being court reporters, believing they can become court reporters, and inspiring them to persevere. We must work together to make NCRA a place where students and nonmembers want to join to become a part of our great association.

At a preconvention board meeting, the NCRA Board of Directors had a long discussion about the future of the stenographic court reporting profession. The Board decided that, over the next three to five years, NCRA must hyper-focus on an effort to recruit more qualified students into court reporting programs as well as to produce more court reporters from those programs. As part of this initiative, the Board agreed to mobilize a special task force to look at court reporting education from all angles to determine what can be done as a community and as a profession to do something dramatic such as triple the number of students in court reporting programs across the nation over the next five years. On the table for discussion will be just about anything that, as a community, will allow us to work together toward such a highly ambitious goal. This will not be a repeat of the Reporter Education Commission from 2005, but rather it will be an innovative approach to increasing the number of students entering reporting school and their graduation rates to keep NCRA vibrant, growing, and relevant to our members.

Our keynote speaker in Philadelphia, Dan Clark, shared some thoughts on dreaming, believing, and inspiring. One of my favorite quotations from his presentation was this: “The law of attraction is real. Likes attract likes. If you don’t like what’s real, change what’s attracting it.” No longer can we remain a routine, humdrum organization that offers certification via analog audio recording, continuing education only through in-person seminars, or a static website. We must remain flexible, adaptable, and inventive. We need to be an association that reporters want to belong to, not feel they have to belong to.

Online testing is well under way, which allows NCRA to deliver preliminary results to candidates within hours of completing an exam. Yes, there have been some adjustments that need to be made to the system along the way, but we are working on making those adjustments. We’re developing new, convenient, and creative ways to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Our website is continually being updated to provide you with customized information about your profession. Are you taking advantage of all that NCRA has to offer you to keep yourself current? Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone and hop on our grassroots realtime training program known as TRAIN? Are you willing to be proud of your profession, become a StenAdvocate, and tell the world what it is you do?

Seasons change, people change, circumstances change, life changes. NCRA can change and still remain a steno-centric organization. Don’t be afraid of change; nothing stays the same. That doesn’t mean change can’t be wonderful and exciting. Dream, believe, inspire.

 

Realtime Tips & Tricks

Why are you trying to perfect your realtime feed? Are you branching out into providing CART? Are you trying to earn certification? No matter what you are trying to do, check out the tips below and see how they improve your writing.

TIPS FOR PASSING THE REALTIME EXAM

Barbara Tokuz, RDR, CRR, from Rockwell, Texas, gives these tips on how to pass the realtime certification test:

  • Work out all of your prefixes/suffixes in your dictionary.
  • Delete all conflicts from your dictionary. This will force you to find another way to write the words.
  • Practice on yourself.
  • Work on increasing speed with speed tapes and realtime seminars.
  • Incorporate great briefs and use them regularly.
  • Practice realtime on a trusted attorney or judge.
  • Make sure your equipment and software is always top notch.
  • Stop being scared and just do it.
  • Act like a pro and be confident no matter what. No one is perfect all the time. The more you do it, the better you will be, and the nervousness will subside.

SECRETS OF REALTIME

Teri Hansen Cronenwett, RMR, CRR, who has gotten her Realtime Systems Administrator credential, is from South Jordan, Utah. She says the secret to realtime is consistent practice. Here are some of her other suggestions:

  • Set up realtime at every deposition, whether they want it or not. The more you do it, the more confident you will be, and the more likely you will be to have all of your equipment at hand.
  • I suggest having extra cables and extra laptops. If you have an extra laptop and the attorney can’t get his “feed” to work, you can say, “I have it working on my extra computer. I think the problem is on your end. Do you want to just use this?”
  • I used to use cables. They worked every time for me, for 15 or more years (except the time my computer got dropped). Now I use CaseViewNet and a wireless router, a Cradlepoint. I love how it does the instant refresh, and you don’t have to mess with cables. The price is steep initially, but it pays for itself over time. I have also started providing captioning at church using this method.
  • I usually have more than enough work because I am proficient in realtime. Not all attorneys want it and not all cases warrant it, but if you offer it, they will often ask for a rough draft, which is also an up-sell.
  • As far as untranslates, the attorneys are used to it not being perfect. Just do your best! Get the caption and define some words beforehand, especially the speaker identifications, and put some briefs in that you will be using. You’ll be surprised at how nicely it does come up!
  • Just work on one or two conflicts each week. Figure out a way to write each one, put up a little sticky note on your machine and go through them every day, and they will become automatic.
  • As you go through each deposition, keep an eye on your untranslate rate. Compete with yourself, trying very hard to get that error rate down and write clear notes. You will love the shorter editing time!

IN THE CLASSROOM

A CART/captioner shares tips for providing realtime to hard-of-hearing clients in the classroom. Here are some ideas from her experience that may be helpful:

  • I overcame nervousness by digital audio recording every lecture beginning the second semester of the first year of CART, and correcting each transcript against audio after lecture was over. I delivered a perfect transcript as if I had caught everything first crack. I recommend Olympus brand digital audio for good quality sound.
  • I mark text with asterisks in realtime — in my notes, a single asterisk means to “come back and edit a mistake” (something not immediately obvious: (a) like a wrong word three lines ago that you just now understood the pronunciation of, or (b) a typo that is so close in spelling to the correct word that the eye will not see it when skimming during proofreading). I use double asterisks to mark hesitations for practice later.
  • When filling in dropped segments from listening to audio recording during the first year, I used steno to type drops and copy/paste back into the transcript. Then I compiled and saved them as a file of drops and hesitations to do focused practice later on.
  • Some troubleshooting tips: Since the transcript needs to be sent out after the job, some mishaps can be very frustrating. I learned after two mishaps to always ASCII rough copy immediately after the job, so at least I’d have something to work off of if anything befalls the Eclipse file. The first mishap was accidentally deleting the realtime file, but not the note file, whereupon I had to retype the whole job from readback. Another time, I accidentally deleted the whole file, realtime and notes, and had to do the entire job from audio backup. The possibility of a laptop getting stolen before you’ve sent out transcripts contained in it is also an unpleasant thought. So, emailing rough ASCII files to yourself immediately after a job is always a good precaution.
  • Also, don’t be afraid to work hard. That is probably the single biggest idea that helps in the area of realtime, I think. From the beginning, back in 80 wpm, I took the advice of Phoenix Fast Track author, Carol Joachim, to focus on accuracy before speed. I agreed with that concept 100 percent and have applied it thoroughly. The result is buying back future time by investing in practice now, meaning every reduction in future clean-up time on transcripts equals more time to do whatever else. It makes the self-imposed demand of realtime perfection seem worthwhile.

 

Stadium Captioning

Stadium CaptioningIn the past few years, advocates for hearing accessibility have made gains in sports venues. Today, many major league and college stadiums regularly offer captioning of in-stadium announcements for sporting events. Here, we talk to three captioners who provide captioning of stadium events. In some cases, the captioners will work in the stadium, and in others, they provide captions through a remote connecton. The set-ups for viewing captions vary from stadium to stadium, as well, with displays on JumboTron, LED boards, and Daktronics boards, not to mention on handheld devices and in-stadium televisions.

Want to learn more? Read on.

Do you have to like sports to do stadium captioning? Which sports do you prefer?

Larry Driver: I don’t think you have to like sports, but it surely helps. I would have to say my preference would be basketball just because it’s faster paced. Football time is like “dog years”… two minutes on the game clock can seem like hours.

Jen Bonfilio: I don’t think you have to like sports to do stadium captioning, but it sure helps, and if you do like sports, then work becomes play!

My preference for sports stadium captioning is [because it’s] completely different from broadcast sports captioning. Prep is one factor that is basically the same for both, but if you caption for the same stadium/ team during a season, then you only have to prep the opposing team each game. With broadcast sports captioning, the broadcasters speak very rapidly, and, depending on the pace of the action, it could affect the speed of the speakers. Therefore, basketball and hockey can be challenging.

Stadium captioning is completely different. The PA announcer “calls” each play in football, tennis, and basketball, but it could be one sentence delivered slowly and calmly (in football) and the play-call is spaced out with seconds or minutes between each one. Basketball PA announcers are a bit more colorful and like to strettttttttch out players’ names as they score a basket and, again, only announce when a basket has been made. In baseball, there is no play-call during the game. The captioner can sit back and wait until three outs are called and the teams are switching sides. At that time, for the duration of a commercial break for those at home, announcements are made regarding refreshments, safety information, ticketing information, as well as sponsor commercials. Sprinkled in with those types of announcements may be prerecorded video spots, many of which include dense sports material.

Lisa Davis: No, I suppose you don’t, but it would make your day go by much, much slower. I prefer football and baseball.

How many hours does it take for you to prepare for one game? How do you prepare? Are you given scripts?

Driver: It really depends on the game. College football takes the longest to do the research. The rosters are incredibly long with lots of difficult names. And just how many ways can you spell “Darren”? Prescripting the announcer “reads” is a must. The sponsor announcements are usually very fast and chock full of proper names, numbers, etc. In addition, there are always lots of pregame, halftime, and post-game announcements with proper names. Much of the scripted material repeats, albeit sometimes in a different sequence for every game. Once I’ve created the first script of the season, I find it usually takes about an hour to edit the script for subsequent games.

MetLife Stadium

Bonfilio: I visit the team’s website and copy/paste rosters, stats, or box scores from a recent game so I know who the key players are, coaches, front office staff, stadium name, and history, and then I repeat the process for the opposing team. As outlined above, I put all of this information into a Word document to make it pretty and big enough so I can prop it up in front of me on game day.

Scripts are usually provided on the same day of the game. I either copy/paste from the script into my captioning software or “write” from my steno machine the pertinent “blurbs” to create a script file in my software. Then I insert “slug lines” (script commands) and format them with terminal punctuation and other captioning related style requirements.

For ongoing jobs, the “blurbs” are repeated each time with some “blurbs” changing slightly. Once the script has been created in my captioning software the first time, then each game day, I go through and compare the provided script with my script and make any necessary changes.

Davis: Anywhere from two to six hours. I go around to the various departments and get everything I need: music, sponsors, timed outlines.

Are we given scripts? Yes! Always, yes!

What exactly do you caption? PA announcements, music, everything? Are there some things that don’t get captioned?

Driver: We caption all announcer reads. We usually do not caption music with the exception of the National Anthem or other music we may have been provided prior to the event. Captioning of stadium events also usually includes the locker room interviews after the game.

Bonfilio: In the past, it was everything except music or, in some cases, just the National Anthem and perhaps a couple of other patriotic songs; however, a recent legal decision has required stadiums to caption all music. It should be noted, though, when captioning remotely, oftentimes the music being played in the stadium is not being piped through our audio feed. So if we can’t hear it, we can’t caption it.

But one job I worked on last year on site comes to mind; we captioned more music than sports action. Captioning musical lyrics can be as challenging as captioning sports. Therefore, captioners must make sure they are very skilled in this area before attempting to work in a stadium environment.

Davis: In one venue, I caption everything. At my other venue, I caption only sponsors, commercials, and lineups. Are there some things that don’t get captioned? I am instructed not to caption while the batters are in the box. The policy is very strict on this; apparently it’s a Major League Baseball thing.

Do you caption onsite at the stadium or remotely?

Driver: Initially we captioned onsite, but over the past couple of years, it’s been all remote. For some special events, such as the All-Star Game, we will still try to go onsite.

Bonfilio: Both.

Davis: Both for me. For football, I am onsite. For baseball, I am remote.

What method do you use to provide the text? Do you output to an encoder, an Internet platform, a Daktronics board? If you output to a Daktronics board, can you explain what that is?

Driver: We display captions a number of ways, including open captions displayed on JumboTron and realtime text using StreamText or a direct IP route to JumboTrons or handheld devices.

Bonfilio: Daktronics boards are the large LED boards, sometimes referred to as ribbon boards, located in stadiums. An operator can manipulate the text and colors that appear on the boards, whether it’s our captioning or sponsor logos. These boards can be scoreboards as well. Think about the signage you see on the highway with large amber text alerting you to a traffic jam ahead or an Amber Alert.

I have provided captioning in the stadium environment through an encoder onsite to Daktronics boards. I have provided captioning through iCap (Internet encoder) to handheld devices. And our company has delivered captioning remotely through an encoder as well as modem-to-modem connections to Daktronics boards.

Davis: For the stadium, I output to a Windows handheld mobile device as well as to all flat panel televisions. For the ballpark, I output only to the Daktronics board. On this question, I’m still learning. All I know of the Dak board is that it is a huge digital board that I share with the billboards, and my captions are the bottom two lines of the board and it does not like music notes at all. Boo!

Are you isolated in your location if you’re onsite at the stadium? Is it a quiet environment? Are you bombarded with fan noise?

Driver: When we captioned onsite at Arizona State University, we were in the control room. It was extremely chaotic and noisy. Space was also a real issue, with barely enough room for a laptop, cables snaking around our legs, and scripts on a music stand. There are disadvantages to remote captioning, but you can’t beat the peace and quiet of your own work space. When open captioning to an encoder or directly to a JumboTron over IP, we’ve found installing a SlingBox so we can actually see what is happening on the screen to be invaluable.

Bonfilio: It depends on the stadium. One stadium in which I worked, I was located in the same booth as the PA announcer and one other person. There was relatively little noise. At another stadium, I was in what’s called the “Radio Bullpen,” which is where the folks who give regular updates to their radio stations were housed. This room got very loud at times, especially when the German fellow sitting very close to us would record his updates (in German!).

It is not uncommon for stadium personnel to “stick” the captioner in the control room, which is full of people, including the director, all talking (and shouting) in the ordinary course of their business. I strongly encourage captioners to discourage this room as an option. Not only is it noisy, but space is very limited, and you really need to spread out and have room for your equipment, including a backup system, typist stands with rosters, and personal items. Yes, I have to have my box of tissues and hand cream, as well as extra cables, adaptors, notebooks, folders, AC adaptors to charge all my equipment and gadgets, steno machine and laptop cases, not to mention a lunch box with probably two or three meals. There is no time to go out to get something to eat, and you may be there for a good number of hours. For regular gigs, you’re essentially moving in!

I always wear noise-cancelling headphones whether working onsite or remotely, so that minimizes the noise quite a bit. For remote work, there is absolutely nothing else on the line except the voice of the PA announcer or, in the case of football, the referee. The crowd noise hasn’t been a factor at all for me, which is the complete opposite when you’re captioning sports on television, especially basketball! Sometimes you cannot hear the broadcasters at all because of the fan noise.

Davis: Mine is semi-private. I am in a suite, so I have the option of leaving my door open or closed, but it is a heavy, insulated door. So if it is open, I get the “experience,” but if it is closed and my headset is on, I don’t hear any outside noises at all.

Do you caption the fan noise?

Driver: No, we usually do not hear the fan noise. We only hear when the announcer’s mic is open or the referee makes a call.

Bonfilio: Since I can’t hear it remotely, no. But if the situation calls for it onsite, I have, for example, during player introductions.

Davis: I do, and sometimes “it ain’t pretty.”

What do you do if you can’t hear because of the fan noise?

Bonfilio: As I said, it’s really not an issue for me, but if it ever were, my stock answer for anything that interferes with doing the job when there’s no control of a situation: Do the best you can.

Davis: I usually put up generic parenthetical with relation to that specifically.

Do you have a visual of the game? If so, is it on a monitor, or can you see the field?

Driver: Not always. If the game is being broadcast, I will always tune in to watch. It certainly helps to have the visual cues.

Bonfilio: At one stadium, I had a clear, unobstructed view of the field. At another stadium, I had a monitor, but toward the end of my time there, when the German guy left, I moved up to his seat on the final day and was able to see the court. For remote work, the answer is no; however, one of our clients is working on getting us video of just the Daktronics boards for the upcoming season so we can monitor our captions.

Davis: I am unable to directly view the field and be sound-proofed at the same time, so I have four flat-panel LCD TVs that are huge, and I can see anything anywhere at any time. I actually see more than the fans! All the behind-the-scenes nitty gritty!

How do you get your audio feed? Do you have to bring the equipment, or does the stadium provide it?

Driver: When onsite, we’ve encountered both. I always bring an amplifier and headphones. I recently acquired an amp made by Rolls. It has almost every kind of input jack one could ever need, and it has five headphone outputs, each with individual volume controls. A true life saver when multiple captioners are on the same event.

Bonfilio: The stadium provides the audio equipment (hybrid coupler), which delivers the audio feed to the captioner, whether onsite or remotely.

Davis: The stadium provides my audio setup for me including my own headset. They stressed over what kind of headset to get me for comfort, functionality, and clarity.

TEAM PLAYERS

Jennifer BonfilioJennifer Bonfilio began her court reporting career in 1984, working as a freelance reporter for several agencies in New Jersey. She started providing CART in 1994, when she was asked to help a student at Princeton University. In 1999, Jennifer started captioning, and in 2001, she started her own business, NJCaptions. In 2010, she formed a new company, Coast 2 Coast Captioning (c2cc) that provides remote and on-site stadium captioning and CART services throughout the United States and Canada

 

Lisa DavisLisa Davis, CBC, of Lavon, Texas, the owner of Lone Star Captioning, Inc., has also earned CART Level II certifications in Texas. She has been captioning since 1995 and providing CART services since 1997. She currently provides captioning, CART and remote CART, web streams, and live on-site and live remote captioning in venues including convention centers, stadiums, hotels, colleges, event centers, and TV stations.

 

Larry DriverLarry Driver, RDR, CRR, CBC, began his reporting career as a freelancer in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1977. In 1986, while attending an NCRA Annual Convention, Larry learned about closed captioning. After two years of “reprogramming his shorthand theory,” he won a contract to caption the nightly news for a local NBC affiliate. Shortly thereafter, he was approached to caption all Phoenix Suns broadcasts. In the late 1990s, he took on his first stadium captioning assignments for the Arizona State University Sun Devils and Arizona Cardinals. Larry now works with several other captioners to provide stadium captioning services to both teams. In addition to stadium captioning, his company, Closed Caption Productions, provides realtime captioning for television broadcastsers, webcasts, remote and on-site CART, and offline captioning/subtitling.