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