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VITAC Behind the Scenes: Realtime Supervisor Adam Davies

Posted on: 7/27/2015 5:01:00 PM under News 

   What goes on at VITAC behind the scenes? We've started a series focusing on the people that keep the captions on the screen and the business up and running! Our last post focused on Multilanguage Specialist and Spanish Supervisor Chris Hyde.

We pick up this week with Realtime Supervisor Adam Davies. VITAC captions over 250,000 hours of live programming each year, and Adam is one of the hard-working individuals responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and setups of over 150 realtime captioners and 40 realtime production coordinators. Adam answered a few questions to give us some understanding of his challenging position.

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

Adam: I kick off the day by going over the daily captioner and coordinator schedule. I make sure that there is a coordinator scheduled for every setup, that we have all of the proper connection information for the night, and that we have any show prep that we might need. I answer a variety of phone calls which range from RCs (Realtime Captioners) confirming that their shows are done, to clients requesting last-minute adds to the night's schedule and literally everything in between. I help coordinators and RCs with any questions they may have and perform some of our trickier setups. Of course, I don't have to do any of this alone. I work with some great people.

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

Adam: I like that I have a job where I get to move around. Yes, I spend some time behind a desk, but I'm also running around to our tech center and hardware units just doing setups. I also like that every day is different. I know what to expect to some degree, but we're always working on different shows and getting new clients.

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

Adam: Working in Online (Realtime), what we do is live. That show or event is going on with or without captions, and since it's our job to see that it has captions, we've got to work fast to troubleshoot issues.

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

Adam: I'm going to sound cliche here, but only because it's 100% true. I really like the people I work with. They are funny, helpful, and keep me sane in what sometimes can be a hectic environment.

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

Adam: When I am not at VITAC, I enjoy spending time with my 3-year-old son, Tyler. He's pretty cool. I am renovating an old house which I hope to move into soon. I also play bass guitar in a punk rock band.



Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the ADA

Posted on: 7/17/2015 1:05:16 PM under News 


July 26, 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the first comprehensive civil rights legislation addressing and granting basic accessibility needs of people with disabilities. It includes sections prohibiting employment discrimination, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

While most of these seem like a basic right, today we take the time to celebrate the men and women who worked so hard to bring these issues to the forefront for decades.

Without the ADA, public places wouldn't have curb cuts for wheelchair accessibility. Now because of it, so many other individuals benefit from them, such as people pushing carts and strollers.

The same holds true with captions. While the ADA didn't specifically address captioning for television, the law, "helped bring to light the pressing need for telecommunications equality," according to Karen Peltz Strauss in her book, A New Civil Right: Telecommunications Equality for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Americans. Millions of Americans now benefit from closed captioning in addition to those who rely on it, including children learning to read, people learning English as their second language, and anyone trying to watch television in a noisy bar or gym.

July also marks the 10th anniversary of the FCC's review of closed captioning rules, instigated by Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) Petition for Rulemaking the previous year. These led to the FCC's Closed Captioning Quality Report and Order, much of which went into effect this year.

Celebrations of the Americans with Disabilities Act are happening all week long. See a complete list of Americans with Disabilities commemorations here and how you can participate.



VITAC Behind the Scenes: Multilanguage Specialist Chris Hyde

Posted on: 7/8/2015 2:40:37 PM under News 

What goes on at VITAC behind the scenes? We've started a series focusing on the people that keep the captions on the screen and the business up and running! Our last post focused on Realtime Schedule Administrator Kelly Zrimsek.

This week, we continue with Multilanguage Specialist and Spanish Supervisor Chris Hyde. VITAC provides over 800 hours of prerecorded Spanish captioning and subtitling for customers like Discovery en Espanol, Home Depot, and shows like "The Voice," every year.

Our team is comprised of in-house Spanish translators and captioners, augmented by translators all over the world. In addition to working with Spanish, Chris also oversees the coordination of translation, transcription, and subtitling of over 45 different languages. Chris took a few minutes out of her busy day to shed some light on her VITAC experience in our Multilanguage Services (MLS) department.

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

Chris: A typical day for me, as Spanish Supervisor, is coming in, checking my email, going through our scheduler and figuring out what stays in-house and what goes to translators, assigning in-house staff and translators, and settling in to QC or full-prep any captioning or subtitling projects we have in the works. I field questions from the team throughout the day and also coordinate with other departments for English files and training.

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

Chris: I really like the problem-solving aspect of scheduling assignments, and I absolutely love working with Spanish.

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

Chris: Sometimes, said problem solving is quite challenging, as last-minute projects will come in when the team is full-up, so a lot of juggling is then required.

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

Chris: I am a language nerd, so I love working with language in any aspect. In MLS, I get to touch on a nice sampling of languages in addition to just English and Spanish.

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

Chris: In my spare time, I like to try all of the restaurants and festivals in the (Pittsburgh) area. And I enjoy cycling and walking to balance all of the restaurants and festivals!



New iTunes Requirement: Content Must Have CC

Posted on: 7/1/2015 5:30:27 PM under News 

   Do you produce video content for distribution in the iTunes store? If so, there is a new requirement for any and all content: Videos must include closed captioning and/or subtitles.

The rule is in effect now and applies in the following ways:

  • Any television show episode in English must have closed captioning whether it aired on United States television or not.
  • Movies in English must have either closed captions, encoded subtitles, or both.
  • Movies or TV shows without English audio must have English subtitles.
  • Promotional and bonus material delivered to iTunes and live after June 30, 2015 must have closed captioning.
  • iTunes extras must have closed captioning or encoded subtitles.

This new stipulation took effect June 30, 2015, and as of July 1, iTunes began removing any content not compliant with their new regulations.

VITAC offers a quick turnaround solution for short form videos and can help make yours iTunes ready!

We also offer encoding and translation services in addition to our prerecorded captioning solutions.

Contact us for more details!



A Taste of VITAC Summer

Posted on: 6/26/2015 9:22:46 AM under News 

   You're invited to VITAC's Summer barbecue! Well, maybe not physically, but you can make some of our team members' favorite Summer dishes for your own get-together.

VITAC's internal employee newsletter, ViTalk, held a Summer BBQ/Picnic recipe contest this past month. We asked all employees across all departments to send in their best recipe for this time of year for the grill, or for a dish that they'd bring to a potluck picnic.

Our offline department captions tons of cooking shows, and it seems that some of our team members could actually star in some of them! We received many entries, so we compiled a few of them together to create the ultimate VITAC Summer meal:


PIMM's Cup 


  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Pimm's No. 1
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ginger beer or ginger ale
  • 1 cucumber slice
  • 1 sprig fresh mint (5-6 leaves)


  1. Fill highball glass with ice.
  2. Add Pimm's, then top with ginger beer.
  3. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint sprig.
Appetizers/Side Dishes:

Joe's Zesty Corn Salad submitted by Multi-Language Specialist Chris Hyde:


  • 8 ears fresh corn
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil fresh corn in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Remove and then plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Cut kernels off cobs.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well.
  3. Chill thoroughly. Before serving, garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Cold Thai Noodle Salad submitted by Realtime Captioner Patty Nelson:


  • 1 lb. of spaghetti
  • Dressing: 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce (siracha)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Extras: 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Optional: snow peas, bean sprouts, Napa cabbage


  1. Cook noodles al dente. Strain and rinse under cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together noodles, vegetables and 2/3 of the dressing.
  3. Chill at least 2 hours. Before serving, pour extra dressing over noodles and top with sesame seeds, cilantro and green onion.

Main Dishes:

"Lost" Burgers submitted by Multi-Language Services Manager Dan Garbark:


  • burger pattys and buns
  • pineapple slices
  • chipped ham (lunchmeat)
  • provolone cheese slices
  • barbecue sauce


  1. Grill burgers to preference
  2. When burgers are just about finished, top with pineapple, then the ham and provolone.
  3. Place in bun and top with barbecue sauce.

Blackberry Brandy Salmon submitted by Realtime Captioner Carol Epperley:


  • salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons blackberry brandy
  • 2 tablespoons of butter


  1. Place each salmon filet in aluminum foil.
  2. Add brown sugar, blackberry brandy and butter.
  3. Fold aluminum foil and place on grill.
  4. Grill for about 20 minutes until flaky.


Red, White and Blue Cookies submitted by Offline Captioner Sarah McPartland:


  • 1 box of red velvet cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • white chocolate chips
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • Blue food coloring


  1. Melt butter, soften cream cheese and blend together. Then add egg.
  2. Blend cake mix and vanilla extract and add to butter and cream cheese mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.
  4. Bake a dozen at 325 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
  5. When cooled, add blue food coloring to cream cheese frosting and top cookie with thin layer.

2013 Cuyahoga County Fair First Prize Pink Lemonade Pie submitted by Realtime Captioner Jane Proud:


  • 1 Pillsbury Pet-Ritz frozen pie crust
  • 1 8 ounce tub whipped topping, reserving some for decoration
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • powdered pink lemonade mix
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • red food coloring


  1. Bake Pet-Ritz pie crust as per directions on package.
  2. Combine whipped topping and sour cream. Stir in powdered pink lemonade to taste (about 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup). Spoon mixture into baked pie crust, spread smooth and refrigerate.
  3. Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add in a little of the water and stir to form a paste. Slowly stir in remaining water.
  4. Whisk in egg yolk and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in fruit juice. Stir in 1 drop of red food color.
  6. While mixture is still warm, gently pour it over the top of the pie, letting it spread to the edges. Refrigerate 1-2 hours and pipe whipped topping around edges or place a spoonful in the center for decoration.


A Horse of a Different Spelling

Posted on: 6/11/2015 2:03:44 PM under News 



When American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 last week, he made history in more ways than one. In addition to becoming the most famous horse in the world, he also changed the closed captioning of one particular word forever: "Pharaoh."

It was a popular news story when it first broke: how American Pharoah's owners misspelled "Pharaoh," on some official paperwork. There was an internet contest held to name the horse, and allegedly, the winning entrant was the one that spelled the name incorrectly. There's some controversy surrounding the mistake, but regardless, the horse will forever be known as American Pharoah.

Since the horse has most likely reached Secretariat's fame level, he will be referred to in the media for years to come. Our realtime captioners now must be extra careful when they phonetically write "Pharaoh," (ancient Egyptian ruler, SNL cast member) or "Pharoah" (prize-winning horse) on their steno machines!

The combo will be added to every captioner's list of homonyms requiring different keystroke combinations: hear/here, they're/there/their, and Smith/Smyth. (There are a lot of NHL players with both names!) This will probably be a staple of sports captioning dictionaries for a very long time.

Our offline department is also affected by the spelling error! Any treatment sheet they create for programs referring to horse racing must always include American Pharoah.

Not only was the incorrect spelling trending on social media, but it was certainly "trending" here at VITAC as well! One seemingly tiny mistake has made a pretty big impact, at least when it comes to captioning!



Updated VITAC IP/Web Captioning Page

Posted on: 6/3/2015 4:57:27 PM under News 

Mandates for IP and web captioning have changed, so we updated our IP/Web Captioning Service page on our website to reflect this!

Along with realtime and offline solutions for Internet Protocol-(IP) delivered programming, we've now included our captioning solutions for IP-delivered clips of programs that originally aired on television. Clips on platforms such as YouTube will soon be required by the FCC to be captioned, so you can stay ahead of the game by contacting us for details.           

Be sure to also check out our brand new IP Captioning Overview webpage. Here you'll find important effective dates for the FCC regulations and important terms so you'll know exactly which rules to follow. You can also click here for a printable summary.



VITAC Offers Realtime Solution for Adobe Connect

Posted on: 5/28/2015 4:22:15 PM under News 

Adobe Connect has fast become one of the more popular online meeting, webinar and presentation platforms for businesses. Some of its features include audio and video conferencing, meeting recording, screen sharing, chat function, and polling.

If your company utilizes Adobe Connect for its information sharing, VITAC offers a realtime captioning solution for webinars and online meetings.

We also offer realtime captioning for other platforms such as WebEx, Google Hangout, and Sony Foundry, and more.

Interested in captioning for your webinars and online business meetings? We can help you determine the solution that will make your live webcast accessible to your entire audience. Contact us today!



VITAC Behind the Scenes: Realtime Scheduler Kelly Zrimsek

Posted on: 5/22/2015 9:26:27 AM under News 

   What goes on at VITAC behind the scenes? We've started a new series focusing on the people that keep the captions on the screen and the business up and running! Our last post focused on Client Sales and Services Representative Christi Dean.

This week, we continue with one of our Realtime Schedule Administrators. The Realtime Scheduling department is responsible for assigning realtime captioners to every single hour of realtime programming daily, (over 220,000 hours a year!) among a lot of of other responsibilities! Realtime Schedule Administrator Kelly Zrimsek gave us the scoop on her day-to-day tasks at VITAC.

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

Kelly: A typical day in the life of a Scheduler can be hectic. Scheduling is responsible for covering all of the realtime shows for VITAC - hundreds of hours per day of captioning. We also build and manage RC (Realtime Captioner) schedules. At this point, we have almost 150 captioners. Our small department is depended upon not just to get shows covered that have been scheduled ahead of time, but also for any RC emergency call-offs and adds of additional programming. Someone always has to be available to contact in our department 24/7. So the typical day can be hectic, but the level is just reliant upon the time of year and what's going on in the world.

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

Kelly: I would say almost every part of my job can have its challenging moments. This ranges anywhere from breaking news, where our department goes into "spazz" mode momentarily, all the way to "picks," (assigning captioners to programming) where it becomes difficult to focus after completing hundreds of pages every week.

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

Kelly: My favorite part about VITAC is the people. Over the years that I've worked here, they have become like a second family to me.

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

Kelly: I often spend most of my spare time playing video games. I have also started back into arts and crafts as well.



Updated VITAC Spanish Solutions Webpage

Posted on: 5/15/2015 9:01:46 AM under News 


                                       An example of realtime Spanish captioning on Fox Deportes

Does your project require Spanish captioning, subtitling, or translation? VITAC offers many solutions for both realtime and prerecorded Spanish-language programming. We've updated our Spanish services webpage to include all of them!

If your program airs live and the master audio is in Spanish, our Spanish-language captioner listens to an audio line and creates the captions in realtime.

If your live program's audio is in English, but requires Spanish captions, a translator listens and translates for our captioner in realtime. We also provide this service for Spanish audio programming requiring English captions.

VITAC can also provide live English and Spanish captions simultaneously for the same program utilizing the CC1 and CC3 caption fields. Both languages can be routed to a single stream to one encoder or to multiple encoders.

For prerecorded programming, our Spanish captioners can create captions and/or subtitles for you from the master audio in any language.

And now, VITAC offers Spanish Audio Dubbing, often referred to as Secondary Audio Programming or SAP. We create a Spanish audio track for English-language programming using professional narrators. The track then is mixed, mastered and timed with the video. Viewers can choose when watching between the English and Spanish audio.

For more details, visit our new, improved, and updated Spanish services page, or contact us.


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