Live Captioning

Since 1982, NCI has provided real-time captions for live television – including news, sporting events, weather bulletins, government meetings and speeches, and specialized programs. Our highly trained production staff is the best in the industry, and they work with sophisticated technology to provide over 100,000 hours of live captions per year, with an accuracy rate of 98% or better.

How Do Captions Work?: Caption data is added to the television signal using a piece of hardware at the broadcast site called an encoder. A real-time captioner will use a modem or Internet connection to send captions to a client’s encoder. As the captioner listens to the audio being broadcast, he or she transcribes what is being said using specialized equipment while simultaneously adding punctuation. This process transforms the spoken audio of a broadcast into grammatically correct words on the screen. Since the captioner cannot transcribe a word until it is spoken, real-time captions typically lag the audio by two or three seconds.

Live captions are generated as the program is being broadcast, which means that there is no opportunity to proofread them in advance. As a result, errors do occur, usually in the form of incorrect, though phonetically similar, words. NCI continually assesses each captioner’s work so that accuracy rates of 98% or better can be maintained. Captioners also engage in rigorous research prior to all broadcasts in order to prepare for the names, proper nouns, and terminology they may encounter.

NCI additionally provides live-display captioning, in which 100% verbatim roll-up captions are prepared in advance but transmitted at the time a program airs, as well as live encoding, which is the corresponding process for pop-on captions.

Who Are the Captioners?: NCI’s live production staff is comprised of the most experienced and highly trained captioners in the industry. Real-time Steno Captioners and Voice Writers each use a different method to produce first-class quality that is synonymous with NCI. Our preeminent steno captioners are court reporters who have spent three to six months to become on-air captioners and another 12 to 18 months to become proficient in all sports programming. They use a computerized system based on stenographic shorthand and can transmit up to 250 words per minute. Our voice writing professionals are all college-educated or court-reporting certified. Using superior articulation skills, verbal commands, and specially-trained proprietary software, voice writers “echo” or repeat the broadcast audio into their microphones and add punctuation in order to produce high-quality real-time captions.

NCI Offers:
•The best quality and service available for real-time captioning
•The best trained, and most experienced captioning staff
Competitive rates
•Scheduling flexibility
Proprietary DSMM technology that virtually eliminates service disruptions caused by modem drops
24/7/365 technical support based on 40 years of experience
English and Spanish real-time captioning
Simultaneous English and Spanish captioning with live translation