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November 29, 2003

Your job: Jeanette Christian

From: Topeka Capital Journal, KS - Nov 29, 2003

The Capital-Journal

Caption provider and stenographer

Company: Christian Captioning and Reporting Services, Topeka, 286-2730.

How long have you been on the job: 21 years.

What do you do on the job: I provide instantaneous remote real-time captioning, often referred to as CART. Captions are created for students with hearing impairments in elementary, middle, high school and college settings located in different parts of the United States. The instructor wears a lapel microphone, which feeds into the student's sound card. The audio is digitized and compressed before it is sent over the Internet to the off-site captionist, which is myself. My computer decompresses the audio and transmits the text back to the event site where it is displayed on a computer monitor, a television screen or overhead projection screen. Remote real-time captions allow students who are hearing impaired the opportunity to receive their education within their home school district or university. This entire process happens in a matter of a few seconds.

I provide remote on-site captions in a variety of other environments such as city council/government meetings, military meetings, corporate meetings, graduation ceremonies, as well as weddings and funerals.

Likewise, I provide Web streaming of quarterly financial earnings calls, via the Internet, for companies located in different parts of the United States. I am also a broadcast captioner projecting captions on the television screen through an encoder/decoder, which is a similar yet different technology.

I am the president and owner of Christian Captioning & Reporting Service, Topeka, which provides verbatim transcripts to the legal community to be used in judicial litigation.

Education, training needed for this job: To satisfy the required education and training, you will need to be a graduate of an accredited court reporting school and have passed the certified shorthand reporter's examination given by your state. It takes at least three years to become a captioner or court reporter. The National Court Reporters Association offers many exams to test your skills, each requiring a higher degree of accuracy and speed. I am currently a certified shorthand reporter, registered professional reporter, registered merit reporter and certified real-time captioner.

Advice you have for others who want this kind of job: In order to achieve state certification, you must be willing to work extremely hard learning the stenographic theory. Once certified, you must be able to think quickly, applying your prior years of training.

Annual pay range for this job: With the enactment of the Telecommunications Act, 75 percent of television programming must be closed captioned by 2008. The demand for broadcast captioning is expected to double in size requiring more captioners. The pay ranges between $25,000 and $100,000-plus per year, depending on your job experience, motivation and writing skills.

If you would like to be featured in "Your Job" in The Topeka Capital-Journal, call Billie Padilla at (785) 295-1187 or e-mail or mail The Topeka Capital-Journal, 616 S.E. Jefferson, Topeka, 66607.

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