desk, workspace

Remote Spotlight: Maya Meadows

This week, we sat down to chat with Maya Meadows, one of our remote voice captioners, for some insight into what life is like for her at VITAC! Let’s see what she had to say.

 

 

Q: What’s your role here at VITAC?

A: I am a voice captioner with VITAC.

 

Q: In a few words, what does that entail?

A: I happily serve as the liaison between television stations and the deaf and hard of hearing by captioning what I hear as it translates into written text.

 

Q: In general, what does your workday typically look like?

A:  I wake up (Thank God), get both an 8 and 3 year old off to school, head downstairs to my office in my comfy pjs, and caption away (with a few breaks here and there) until it’s time for me to go and sit in the carpool line.

 

Q: What is the most engaging or your favorite part of your role? What makes you laugh, if anything?

A: I absolutely LOVE the flexibility this career offers!! Being able to work from home has done wonders for my road rage while having the privilege servicing the deaf and heard of hearing.

 

Q: What is the most challenging part of your role?

A: The constant challenge is continuing to perform at a high level, maintaining my accuracy, increasing my WPM and rating, and exceeding expectations all while simultaneously maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

 

Q: What do you get up to when you’re not working?

A: When I’m not captioning, you can probably find me in the stands at the baseball field. I am an active baseball mom ( Go Bears) who also loves to stay fit, so chasing after our 3 year old during practice definitely helps with that. Our family is blended (I have a son from a previous marriage), and people always ask me how we “make it work”, so I recently started a blog at BlendedEverAfter.family in hopes of showing people what really matters the most… THE KIDS 😉

 

Q: What’s making you happy this week?

A: I survived!! I survived both of my children’s birthday parties with millions of kids (two weeks apart), it’s spring time already, I was able to successfully match all socks in a recent load of laundry (huge), and the 3 upcoming vacations I’ve been planning for a while are just on the horizon. Life is good.

 

Q: How long have you been in captioning? 

A: After onboarding with 3 lovely ladies (we call ourselves the FAB 4) in October 2016, I went “live” in November, I have been captioning for 4 months total, and I haven’t looked back! This, without question, is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

 

 

Meadows-Family

Maya is from Atlanta, and has spent the past 4 months working remotely from Lawrenceville, Georgia, where she lives with her husband and 2 children, Dylan, 8 and Parker, 3.  A sports fanatic, Maya speaks fluent football, cheered professionally for 5 years, and still believes in handwritten thank you notes. She never meets a stranger, and is ecstatic about her new career here at VITAC.

Traffic, closed captioning, desk

Behind the Scenes with Bre Lehman

by Johnathan Moore ©

Ever wonder what’s happening behind the scenes at your favorite closed captioning company? Well, we’re here to lift the veil and give you a peek into how our traffic department keeps the gears oiled and turning! We recently sat down with Bre Lehman, Traffic Coordinator extraordinaire, to chat about her work…

 

What’s your role here at VITAC?

I work in our Offline Traffic Department.

 

In a few words, what does that entail?

Basically we’re the contacts between the clients and Offline operations. We handle all the incoming Offline projects, making sure they are scheduled and Offline has all they need to get their work done. And then on the back end we make sure the clients get their caption files once completed.

 

In general, what does your workday typically look like?

My work can vary from day to day, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. Since I’m the first one in in the mornings, I typically go through our shared inbox and take care of urgent projects that came in overnight. Then I make sure all projects that are due back to the client that morning are sent off. From there, it’s just managing emails and incoming projects. Also, a lot is solving issues that Offline might have.

 

What is the most engaging part of your role? What makes you laugh, if anything?

I love chatting with clients and helping them out with their issues. For example, one of our contacts from NFL Films is one of the nicest guys. Lately he’s been cracking us up because he doesn’t like the Patriots, and while he isn’t a Steelers fan, he was hoping they would beat New England. Sadly that didn’t pan out the way we had hoped.

 

What is the most challenging part of your role?

I think the most challenging part is that there is so much to remember. There is no cut and dry procedure for all of our work, so it is a lot of double checking and making sure you are doing the right thing for the particular project/show you are working on. You have to be on your toes.

 

What do you get up to when you’re not in the office?

I’m a huge sports fan, so I love watching hockey/football and going to Pens and Pirates games with my boyfriend Chris or my friends when I get the chance. I also love to read, and have a huge book collection.

 

What’s making you happy this week?

That we’ve hardly had any snow this winter so far! :-)

 

 

 

Bre Lehman Traffic Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bre Lehman has been a member of the VITAC team for almost three years. Outside of the captioning world she enjoys attending hockey games, reading, and finding new things to binge on Netflix.

 

 

 

 

Playoffs Spotlight: Captioning the NFL

Referee, NFL, Realtime Captioning

by Johnathan Moore ©

In the spirit of playoff season, this week we talked with Realtime Captioner Steph Libby about her experiences writing for NFL games. While the schedulers, coordinators, and supervisors may be breathing a sigh of relief from having fewer games to manage per week. Captioners like Steph are still keeping pace with the jam-packed programming. Here’s a peek into her world:

 

What have you worked on for the NFL?

I captioned 3 preseason games and 30 regular season games.  Some were more entertaining than others.  I saw two ties, and that was weird. Most of the games went long.

 

That’s a lot of football! What is your favorite part of NFL work?

For the most part, they stay on-topic, and seeing how different fans celebrate is interesting.  I also like that most people have a team or player that they follow, and staying abreast of what’s happening lends to conversations and/or debates with friends.

 

What is most difficult?

When we see the line up of the players and the players say their name and what school they played for is challenging. They, often, do not enunciate well and it can be difficult to decipher what they are saying, since the audio comes before any graphic to give a clue. The players also can have nicknames for themselves or their schools, and you can’t always prepare for those instances.

Also, the pre/post player/coach interviews.  They are often very excited or rushed and talk very fast.

Crowd noise can sometimes be a factor in not being able to hear what’s being said. Along those same lines, there’s sometimes background music or sound effects that the network adds that can cover up what’s being said.

 

Do you follow the sport? What team do you root for?

Sort of.  After 19 years, it’s difficult to have patience to sit through a game when not captioning. I prefer to scan the scores or catch highlights.  I root for the Saints or any team that plays the Steelers, just to annoy my husband. 😉

 

What are the top five things people should know about captioning the NFL?

  1. Reviewing player rosters before each game is so important – players can come off of IR, and you might need to review different spellings of similar sounding names, like DeShawn/DeSean/DeShone.
  2. Look at facts about the venue and host city.  There can be mention of places inside the stadium or town, like eateries or shops or sights, during the broadcast.
  3. Know your history regarding announcers/broadcast crew.  Often, there is talk referencing what they did in the past as a player, coach, hall of fame inductee, et cetera.
  4. Get the names of the referee crew.  They are referenced often and there might be a special interest story involving any of them.
  5. Know the notable history between the two teams.  There’s so many blogs and stories that are out there leading up to game day, if the two teams have a history, you better believe they will talk about the crazy play that happened 13 years ago.  Knowing the names of those players/coaches involved in any historic play/game/rivalry also important to making a good broadcast.

So there you have it! Research, preparation, and lightning-speed reflexes are paramount in not only playing, but captioning football games. Congratulations to everyone who’s made it this far, and best of luck in the coming weeks! We’ll be there with you, no matter the team you’re rooting for.

 

Steph Libby, VITAC, Closed Captions

 

Steph Libby captions
national news and sporting events
from her home in Longmont, CO.
When not captioning, she’s either
skiing or jumping out of airplanes.

 

 

VITAC Behind the Scenes: The Finance Department’s Accounting Assistants

Spotlighting the work of Fran Zvonkovich, Lori Faraoni, Donna Fraser, and Joyce Matthews in Accounting.

Last time we met, Todd Osleger gave us just a peak into his role as a Senior Offline Captioner at VITAC. This week, we travel downstairs to Accounting Lane for a look at the roles that Accounting Assistants Fran Zvonkovich, Lori Faraoni, Donna Fraser, and Joyce Matthews play in keeping invoices, work orders, purchase orders, and balances all in check (a little finance joke). We so appreciate all of the work the Finance Department does for the entire VITAC team, and we are glad we got a chance to know a little more about what they do day to day.

Accounting Assistants at Work for VITAC
Accounting Lane in all their financial glory (Lori, Donna, Joyce, and Fran) .
Lori(left) and Donna(right) take a break for a little photo op

Q: What is your official title?

A: Accounting Assistants

Q: Can you walk us through a normal day at VITAC for you as a member of the Finance Team?

A: Our days usually begin with e-mail– addressing needs/problems/concerns from our clients and sales departments.  From there, there is no such thing as a normal day.  We prioritize our work based on the client/salesperson needs and deadlines, etc.

The following is a list of jobs that our department undertakes each day.

  • Invoicing which includes sorting/distributing and imputing data into detail sheets used during month end billing
  • Weekly [Wednesday ASAP] batches for our special clients
  • Daily check deposits and cash applications
  • Running client credit cards to pay for invoices
  • Posting vendor invoices for payment
  • Getting approvals for accounts payables
  • Weekly check run which includes: printing, signing, matching them to the invoices and mailing
  • Researching current information on clients with past due balances for collection purposes
  • Ordering supplies
  • Greeting guests, answering phones and distributing mail

Q: What are some of your favorite parts about the job?

A:

  • Interacting with our co workers
  • Getting paid for past due invoices
  • Seeing some of the interesting titles on the work orders that pass our desks

Q: What are some of the most challenging parts of the job?

A: Month end billing and collections

Q:  What advice would you give to those just starting out in the field or to anyone who wants to become involved in the Finance field?

A: Have good stress and time management skills and be flexible with your schedule.

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at VITAC?

Fran:  Riding my horse [Arc Angel] and exercising: walking, Zumba and swimming

Donna:  Yoga and healthy cooking

Lori:  Spending time with her family

Joyce:  Walking my dog [Sydney] and exercising: Yoga, Acro Yoga and Pilates

VITAC Finance Department at work
Fran (right) and Joyce (left) pictured working on various projects.

So great to hear from you all! Just four more reasons, why VITAC is “simply the best” and our customers keep coming back! Take a closer look at Our Team here for more insights on the wonderful employees that VITAC is so lucky to have.

By: Tori Trimm

 

VITAC Behind the Scenes: Senior Offline Captioner Todd Osleger

Behind the Scenes with Senior Offline Captioner Todd Osleger

VITAC Offline Captioner Todd  Osleger

 

In the closed captioning industry and at VITAC, there is always something happening Behind the Scenes!

This week, on the heels of our look into our Systems Support Specialist, David Rosales‘s day to day operations, we focus in on the faces (and fingers) behind our offline services.  Offline captioning requires incredible attention to detail whether it concerns spelling, grammar, timing, or style. With VITAC being the exclusive provider of offline captioning for prerecorded programming on over 25 television networks, we expect and receive nothing short of excellence. We took a moment to speak with Senior Offline Captioner Todd Osleger to get some inside information about the world of offline captioning. Here’s what he had to say:

 

Q: Can you walk us through a normal day at VITAC for you as an offline captioner?

Todd: Sure.  First, we get our assignments, which could vary widely, and then we get to work.  Sometimes you spend your shift working on one project; other times you end up doing multiple programs, possibly splitting shows with co-workers, all the while completing on-demand spots that arrive daily.  Regardless of the show, we essentially spend our time transcribing the audio and/or timing the captions to pre-recorded videos.

Q: What are some of your favorite parts about the job?

Todd: I’d say my favorite part is the variety of programs we do.  From animated shorts to sports to sitcoms to feature-length movies to [gulp] reality shows, no day is ever the same.  And while it’s mostly a solitary job, when you do get the opportunity to work with others, you realize there are some cool people here, too.  Having ticket raffles and supportive supervisors are appreciated, as well.

Q: What are some of the most challenging parts of the job?

Todd: Tight deadlines always force you to increase your focus.  And when you encounter difficult audio (unique sounds, puns, numbers, et cetera), you have to figure out how best to faithfully express that to a hearing-impaired person.  Also, any fast-paced dialogue or music will present a challenge to represent properly.

Q: You’re a senior captioner. What advice would you give to those just starting out in the field or to anyone who wants to become an offline captioner?

Todd: Know your grammar!  Proper spelling and good grammar are the foundations for accurately translating audio for a hearing-impaired viewer.  Also, use common sense and be a good listener.  If a word doesn’t sound right in a certain circumstance, it probably isn’t right.

Q: What are some of your favorite types of programs to work on?

Todd: Well, any sitcom, drama, or movie (new or old) is always fun to do.  And I enjoy working on sports documentaries or on anything by NFL Films.

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at VITAC?

Todd: As any parent will admit, there is no spare time when you have children!  Raising my two kids and creating great memories for our family occupy most of my time outside of work.  I get much fulfillment from that.  I also enjoy concerts, listening to classic rock, and reading good books.

 

Learn more about our incredible team members both in our Behind the Scenes blog series, and on our team’s page.

By: Tori Trimm

VITAC Behind the Scenes: Systems Support Specialist David Rosales

Behind the Scenes with Systems Support Specialist David Rosales

 

Systems Support Specialist David Rosales

 

Welcome back to Behind the Scenes: a blog series dedicated to shedding some light on the many faces that make up the VITAC team and help contribute to our “no worries” attitude.  Last week, we met up with Multi-Language Services (MLS) Project Coordinator Dana Kerkentzes to get an inside look at the MLS Department’s impressive contributions here at VITAC.

This week, we shift the spotlight to the Systems and Engineering Department. Day to day operations require our sophisticated technological infrastructure to preform at 100%. When it comes to making sure our services meet the highest standards of quality and efficacy that both our clients and we expect, VITAC knows we can rely on our Systems staff , averaging over 10 years of industry experience, to provide the best support possible. This week’s Behind the Scenes post focuses on Systems Support Specialist, David Rosales.

Q: Can you walk us through a normal day at VITAC for you as a Systems Support Specialist?

David: As a Systems Support Specialist, I commonly troubleshoot various issues such as Internet connections, Hardware, Software, as well as Setup and configure new setups for both in-house and remote employees.

Q: What are some of your favorite parts about the job?

David: My favorite aspect of this job is the fact that I am able to actively work with various departments, which enables me to not only observe how this company operates from several different perspectives, but to better understand and troubleshoot issues that may arise.

Q: What are some of the most challenging parts of the job?

David: One of the more challenging aspects of this job would be the fact that I am more often than not, troubleshooting issues for multiple departments at any given time. Time management is most definitely a critical component of my position.

Q:  What advice would you give to those just starting out in the field or to anyone who wants to become a Systems Support Specialist?

David:   Regardless of what position you have, or what position you hope to obtain within VITAC, the most important advice in my opinion would be to set clear goals for yourself, both long and short term. All too often, people do not have a clear path that they are striving towards, which not only affects their potential career advancement, but also affects their psyche as they do not feel like they are accomplishing much. Set long term goals for what you ultimately would like to accomplish for yourself, and set short term goals which steer you towards that path.

Q: What are some of your favorite types of issues to work on?

David: Any Windows related issues are normally what I prefer to work on. It is my forte and I find myself learning something new almost every time.

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at VITAC?

David: One of my favorite hobbies is to read. Not until fairly recently did I realize how important it is to read and learn as much as possible. Some of my recent books I’ve read include (among many others):

  • Blue Ocean Strategy
  • The Richest Man in Babylon
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Check out more of our team here, and feel free to explore the rest of the Behind the Scenes posts!

By: Tori Trimm

VITAC Behind the Scenes: MLS Project Coordinator Dana Kerkentzes

Behind The Scenes with Dana Kerkentzes

We’ve decided to bring back our popular Behind the Scenes blog series. Last Summer, we left off with Multi-Language Specialist and Spanish Supervisor Chris Hyde. VITAC’s Multi-Language Subtitling team are experts at translation and the creation of subtitles in over 50 languages for niche customers.

Our highly skilled Multi-Language team includes EML (English Master Lists) Experts, translators, QC experts, and reviewers.

We start our series back up with Multi-Language Services (MLS) Project Coordinator Dana Kerkentzes. Dana took a few minutes out of her busy day to shed some light on her VITAC experience in our MLS department.

Q: You’re a valuable member of our MLS team. Walk us through a typical day for you in the office.

Dana: My day starts normally, by reading through emails to get caught up on all our ongoing projects. But from there it can go in any direction! Some days my main focus may be getting a new project out to all our translators, reviewing the translated files, transcribing/timing new EML (English Master List) files, the list goes on! All while keeping up with requests from other departments!

There’s always a lot to work on and to keep me busy!

Q: What are your favorite parts about working in MLS?

Dana: I love that I’m always learning here! Not only do I learn about the many different languages we work with (Did you know that there is a Nigerian language called Igbo? Or that Arabic is read right to left, instead of left to right?), but I also learn a lot just by working on the many different documentaries and other projects we get in from clients.

Q: What are some of the most challenging aspects of your job?

Dana: I used to be the type of person who could keep a calendar in her head, but that’s not possible with this job. I’d definitely it’s been a challenge to find ways to keep myself organized, but one I’d say I’m beginning to master, so I’m able to stay on top of our varying project deadlines.

Q: What do you like most about working at VITAC?

Dana: Well, let me first say that I started at VITAC as a Production Coordinator in the Realtime department, then moved to MLS a few years later. I love that I still feel like a part of the Realtime crew (Once a coord, always a coord, right!?), but that I’ve also been welcomed into the MLS family. So I guess what I like most is that I am able to work for a company where I can look forward to coming to work and being surrounded by good, happy people. Not everywhere is like that, and we’re lucky to have that here.

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at VITAC?

Dana: When I’m not at VITAC, I can usually be found in the saddle. I have a 7-year-old Quarter Horse mare named Pretzel that I board at a nearby stable. We spend many hours together with friends out on the trails or competing locally in western events at small open shows.

By Brittany Bender

 

Amy Bowlen Q&A Recap for Aspiring Captioners

Amy Bowlen Q&A

On Thursday March 10th, we held our first #AskAmy on Twitter, where aspiring realtime captioners had the opportunity to ask our Manager of Realtime Captioner Training Amy Bowlen about the world of captioning and VITAC employment. Thank you to all who participated. For those who weren’t able to log on for the live session, we’ve compiled the highlights below:

Captioning Speed:

Q: What is VITAC’s minimum captioning speed requirement?

A: You must be able to write at least 225 WPM. It can get up to speeds of 300 WPM sometimes.

Briefs:

Q: Would you say you brief a lot? Any suggestions for us speedbuilders?

A: We use briefs for frequently used broadcast terms. For example, for politics, briefs for Republican, Democrat, candidate, president, etc.

Captioning Mechanics:

Q: Do you come back for inflected endings (-ed, -ing, etc.) or do you incorporate them in the same stroke?

A: Coming back ensures better translation, but for frequently used words, you might attach.

Q: I practice to World News, but I get frustrated w/ drops & untranslates. Should I focus on speed-building or dictionary building?

A: They go hand-in-hand. You may find some archived videos on CSPAN’s website that are more attainable.

Q: What important skill would you recommend that judicial reporters focus on when transitioning into captioning?

A: Start putting proper nouns/people’s names in your main dictionary. That will reveal whether or not you have boundary errors.

Q: When you fall behind, is it usually better to trail until you can’t remember, or should you omit words/paraphrase to catch up?

A: It’s better to omit words that wouldn’t affect readability or intent of the speaker.

Caption Dictionairies:

Q: Does VITAC do an analysis of my dictionary? Am I required to make changes to my writing style if I have clean translations?

A: We only require changes if there are theory and translation issues.

Q: Does VITAC help realtime captioners with dictionary building?

A: Not specifically. But there are dictionary-building programs that can be purchased. Dictionary Jumpstart is a great tool.

Equipment and Software:

Q: How does an encoder work and where do I get one?

A: If you’re a captioner, you don’t need to own an encoder. The client owns the encoder. Very, very expensive, and not needed!

Q: Do you recommend a specific steno machine?

A: Not a specific one, but a newer model for technology and ergonomic benefits.

Q: What software does VITAC use? Am I required to switch software?

A: We use Catalyst/BCS. We require all captioners to switch because we provide the software and hardware.

Bootcamps:

Q: Can I do an evaluation first, and then attend a bootcamp?

A: Bootcamps are not a part of VITAC employment. Anyone can attend. Look for one near you! You can submit an evaluation file any time!

 

VITAC Captioning:

Q: What types of captioning do companies such as VITAC cover? For example, radio, stadium, etc.? Or strictly television?

A: We don’t do stadium or radio captioning, but we caption plenty of sports on television! We do some city council captioning as well. And much more… Visit our customers page!

General VITAC Employment:

Q: What are the average amount of hours a day for new captioner?

A: Minimal is 22 hours per week on-air. The average is about 25-35 per week. Some captioners work 5 days a week, some work every day. It’s up to them.

Q: When will training occur?

A: VITAC only trains people who have passed the skill evaluation and been offered a position. We suggest attending a bootcamp first!

Q: Once VITAC accepts me, where does training occur? How long is training?

A: Employees are scheduled to come to our headquarters in Canonsburg, PA for one week and the rest of training is conducted remotely.

Q:  Do NCRA certifications affect salary range?

A: No. We don’t require NCRA certifications. We have our own skill evaluation process.

Q: Are VITAC captioners remote or in-house?

A: Either/or! The majority of our captioners work remotely from their home offices all over the United States.

Q: As an employee, can I take work from other companies if I need extra work beyond what VITAC has available?

A: VITAC captioners work under an exclusive employee agreement which precludes them from working for other companies.

Again, we thank all who participated in #AskAmy. For more great information on captioning, follow our account for Realtime Captioners on Twitter: @VITAC_RC. Be sure to catch Amy at the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association Convention April 1-3rd! If you’re interested in a realtime captioning career with VITAC, please send any questions, resumes, and cover letters to HR Director, Mark Panichella at Mark.Panichella@vitac.com.

So You Want to Be a VITAC Realtime Captioner…

Calling all realtime captioners! We’re hiring RCs! What should you know before you apply? Are you qualified?

VITAC hires highly skilled steno and voice court reporters specialized in captioning live television.

voice writing

Realtime Captioner Trainer Sharon Siatkowski, RPR, CRC, CRR answered some of our most frequently asked questions for those thinking about a captioning career with VITAC:

Q: I want to work for VITAC as a realtime captioner. What can I do to improve my chances?

A: Just as you must have excellent skills and be well-versed in court procedures when applying for an official court reporting position, and just as you must know the art of freelance deposition reporting before applying to a firm, so too must you know the business of captioning.

Q: What does that mean?

A: Above all, you must be able to write and speak television. The initial round of the application process for a remote position is submitting first-run files from TV programs. In reviewing these files, we look for near-perfect translation, because that’s your job as a captioner: to provide near-perfect translation of TV programming.

RCs2Q: What speed does a captioner using steno need?

A: No less than graduation speed of 200-225 wpm. The syllabic density of captioning material will be far more difficult to handle than normal judicial material. Captioning is a highly specialized segment of the reporting field and demands the best of skills: speed, accuracy, and broad knowledge in all television-related areas.

Q: Can a student really be hired as a captioner directly out of court reporting school?

A: Yes, but in most cases, graduates have applied for in-house positions, where we can watch more closely and provide intensive, technically sophisticated training.

Q: Do I need to attend the VITAC Captioning Boot Camp or other training?

A: While a captioning boot camp is not absolutely necessary, a record of attendance is a plus when you apply for a captioning job. It can help demonstrate that you understand dictionary development and management, the technical side of captioning, research methodologies, and other essentials. It gives you an edge in your effort to stand out among other candidates.

Q: Can I come to VITAC for training?

A: Unfortunately, no, unless we’ve hired you to work for us.

Q: What will you look for in the sample files that I send?

A: Near-perfect verbatim translation. A tall order, we know, but that’s the job for which you’re applying. We’ll read your files word-for-word to evaluate accuracy, theory compatibility, content, comprehension, dictionary development, ability to fingerspell, and other keys to professionalism.

Word-for-word reading is the standard process for every aspiring or new captioner. It is the only way to truly perfect your translation – reading every word, deciphering and diagnosing each error, resolving theory issues to avoid the same or similar errors in the future. Every error has a root cause, whether it is a fingering error, an untranslate, an unknown word, a key adjustment problem or a theory issue. You need to analyze each error and resolve its cause to prevent it or similar errors down the road.

Q: How do I know if I’m ready to send in a sample file?

A: A good indicator of when you’re ready is an average of no more than three errors per page, including punctuation. When completing a word-for-word review of your file, count the errors. Also, how do your captions stand up to the captions you see on television? If your error count is low and your captions are as good or nearly as good as what you are seeing on air, then you’re ready to submit the file.

Q: Once I’ve qualified through file submissions, what’s the next step for in-house or remote employment?

A: We will set up a phone or in-person interview – depending on your location – during which we will together attempt to find out if this job is for you and if you are the person for the job. We will discuss job requirements, work schedules, income, what VITAC expects of you, and what you expect from us.

If you are hired for an in-house position, we will talk about relocation issues and a start date. If you are hired for a remote position, we will bring you to our Pittsburgh headquarters for approximately one week of training that will include instruction on the software and hardware, your communication with the office on and off the air, your connection to our internal network, and other company policies and procedures. You will meet with our human-resources team to go over your compensation and benefits package, and get to know the people with whom you will be interacting once you get back home and begin your new captioning job.

Q: Equipment and software – does VITAC supply them?

A: VITAC provides its employees with all necessary equipment and software.

Think you’re ready to join our Realtime team? Send an email to rcinfo@vitac.com with any inquiries!

VITAC Behind the Scenes: Realtime Captioner Tricia Clegg

                         Tricia (right) getting ready to test with a network just moments before a special report. 

 

What goes on at VITAC behind the scenes? We continue our series focusing on the people that keep the captions on the screen and the business up and running! Our last post focused on Senior Offline Captioner Zack Tolles.

This week, we shift the spotlight to Realtime Captioner Tricia Clegg. All VITAC realtime captioners are highly trained and skilled steno captioners, part of our team of 150, responsible for live captioning over 220,000 hours each year. Realtime captioners must be well-versed in sports, news, and current events and have tons of entries relating to each in their captioning dictionaries. As it is our busiest time of year, we really appreciate Tricia taking the time to answer our questions:

Q: You are a valuable member of our Realtime team. Walk us through a typical day for you in the office (or at home remotely if that’s where your’e working!).

Tricia: I work at VITAC HQ for my normal schedule. So my normal day would be to retrieve my [steno] machine, go to an available control room, set up my machine and my connections, and make sure I have all my prep work done needed to start my day. Approximately 15-20 minutes prior to my start time, a production coordinator will come in to test with me and the particular station I have. Every show after that until the end of my shift is similar.

When working at home, I would be prepared with prep work, etc…

Q: What are your favorite parts about working as a Realtime Captioner?

Tricia: My favorite part about being a Realtime Captioner is knowing I have a skill that helps the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. That in itself is gratifying.

Q: What are some of the most challenging parts about your job?

Tricia: Captioning is challenging in the aspect of live television is just that, “live.” We have to remain calm and under control no matter what the circumstance, keeping up with the very fast-paced content, and having to “finger spell” (using the steno keyboard to spell a word out one letter at a time) on the fly.

Q: What do you like most about working at VITAC?

Tricia: What I like about working at VITAC is having the ability to work from home [as a realtime captioner].

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at VITAC?

Tricia: In my spare time when not at VITAC or working on shows at home, I spend quality time with my family.

By Brittany Bender