Behind the Scenes with Senior 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.