Closed captions provide a higher level of accessibility to video content. They help watchers affected by hearing loss, especially when turning up the audio isn’t an option.
But for closed captions to exist, somebody first needs to watch the video and write the captions, which is where you’d come in.
Closed captioning jobs are an attractive side hustle you can often do from home. We’ve compiled a list of the best websites to help you get started, along with an explanation of what the job entails and what you’ll need to do it.
- An Overview of the Best Closed Captioning Jobs
- What Is Closed Captioning?
- Types of Closed Captioning Jobs
- Top 5 Websites to Find Closed Captioning Jobs
- What You’ll Need to Do a Closed Captioning Job
- Tips to Succeed At Closed Captioning Jobs
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Similar Jobs
- Wrapping Up
An Overview of the Best Closed Captioning Jobs
Our editor’s favorite closed captioning jobs:
- Offline Closed Captioning
- Real-Time Closed Captioning
Where to find them:
What Is Closed Captioning?
Closed captioning is the process of writing down text based on a video’s audio.
It’s similar to transcription; the key difference is captioning also captures auditory cues, such as background music and sounds. It’s also different from open captioning, which is always on the screen, either to aid poor-quality audio or as a stylistic choice.
Closed captions also aren’t the same as subtitles, which don’t contain non-dialogue cues. Subtitles are often mere translations, whereas closed captions focus on accessibility.
When doing closed captioning work, you aim to provide watchers with an option to read contextual clues. This makes video content more accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Types of Closed Captioning Jobs
There are two primary types of closed captioning jobs, and they come with a completely different set of expectations.
Offline closed captions are part of the post-production process, meaning they’re added after a video has been edited and finalized.
There’s no pressure to do it live on the spot, making it a far more accessible job. It can often be done remotely, provided you have high-quality audio equipment. It’s also more suitable for beginners compared to real-time captioners who have to avoid making errors.
Note that although offline captioning can be done after the fact, you may still encounter tight deadlines. Clients need their work done on time, especially if you’re working on important YouTube videos or TV programs.
Real-time captioning is often done with the help of another captioner or a computer, called computer-aided real-time transcription (CART).
Real-time captioners do valuable work during live events, such as webinars, TV broadcasting, classrooms, and video meetings. Their work makes these mediums more inclusive and accessible for all individuals.
Real-time captioning requires high accuracy and fast typing skills. As you can imagine, this can be tremendously difficult and somewhat stressful.
This is the next step if you thrive in fast-paced environments and want generous compensation.
Top 5 Websites to Find Closed Captioning Jobs
If you’ve decided to look into a closed captioning job, here are some of our favorite websites to get started:
Rev is one of the most popular platforms for freelance captioning jobs. You can also become a freelance subtitler or transcriptionist with them, meaning there are plenty of opportunities.
Rev allows you to work as much as you want, making it the perfect opportunity to earn extra cash.
It’s easy to start, as their onboarding process has been thoroughly refined.
The only major downside with Rev is that they’re strict about their guidelines. You’ll be penalized and asked to improve if you miss even the smallest detail.
- Flexible schedule
- You get paid weekly through PayPal
- You can work from anywhere
- Lack of support from management
- No room for error
VITAC is another established employer that offers a diverse range of closed captioning services. They’re one of the few platforms that offer real-time captioning in addition to offline captioning. The real-time captioning pay is relatively high, around $30+ per hour.
What truly sets VITAC apart are its excellent benefits — a matching 401(k) plan, three different medical plans, and life insurance.
They even provide all the necessary audio equipment, eliminating the uncertainty of purchasing your own headphones. There’s the opportunity to get better rates once you’re decent at closed captioning.
Like Rev, VITAC has a long list of complicated stylistic guidelines that change constantly. If you make just a few small errors, the management will penalize you by lowering your rate and available work.
- Growth opportunity
- Dental, optic, and health insurance
- Matching 401(k) contributions
- Work from home
- Equipment provided to you
- No room for error
- No paid time off
Vanan Captioning is top-rated by both clients and workers. That speaks volumes considering they have worked with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, and Facebook.
Their job application process is straightforward. You only need to fill out an online form, and they’ll get back to you. They typically have you do a paid test sample before taking you on.
Their captioning services guarantee quick turnaround rates. In turn, these tight deadlines mean the work environment can get stressful.
- Work from home
- Opportunity to do captions for Fortune 500 companies
- Support from management
- Excellent training material
- Stressful work environment
Aberdeen Broadcast Services emphasizes broadcast captioning. This is one of the best options if you want to make serious money from closed captioning work.
Aberdeen offers three different services. You’d be working as part of their AberCap team for closed captioning.
It also has some of the best work cultures, but this comes at the price of working on-site. They occasionally allow remote work, but most employers are expected to live near Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
- Excellent work culture
- Generous benefits
- Competitive pay
- Real-time and offline captioning work available
- Few remote work opportunities
5. 3Play Media
3Play Media is a large company that offers a range of services, including offline and real-time captioning. They have also recently acquired Captionmax, one of the largest closed captioning companies in the world.
3Play Media is one of the few companies offering closed captioning work as full-time and freelance opportunities. You can choose when, how much, and what you work on.
- Inclusive work environment
- Flexible schedule plans
- Weekly payout
- Supportive management
- Modest pay
What You’ll Need to Do a Closed Captioning Job
To get started in this career, here are some essential skills and traits you’ll need:
- Fast typing speed and accuracy: Traditional desk jobs often require a typing speed of around 60 Words per Minute (WPM). A closed captioner must type at 150 to 200 WPM with 99% accuracy.
- Excellent language proficiency: Captions must be written without grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. You must know these rules by heart to excel.
- Tech-savviness: If you’re not familiar with captioning and subtitle tools already, you’re expected to learn how to use them.
- Listening skills: You need sharp listening skills to caption dialogue and differentiate background sounds. Excellent headphones help, but being of good hearing is essential for this role.
- Attention to detail: Even the smallest auditory clues are vital to a story, such as a gust of wind or a police siren in the background.
Tips to Succeed At Closed Captioning Jobs
If you’ve never done closed captioning, subtitles, or transcription, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Practice typing: Regularly visit websites like Type Racer and practice speed and accuracy. With enough training, you’ll join the top 1%.
- Acquire quality gear: If you don’t own a good keyboard and headphones, it’s time to invest, especially if the company doesn’t provide equipment. Also, make sure you have a reliable internet connection.
- Brush up on your English: Error-free spelling and punctuation are necessary for this role.
- Create a portfolio: If you’re struggling to land your first role, consider doing closed captioning for free to have some projects in your portfolio first.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Money Can I Make Doing Closed Captioning?
Closed captioners make anywhere between $10 to $60 per hour. Pay is typically commission-based, and more skilled workers can request higher rates while working significantly faster than beginners.
Which Pays More Transcribing or Captioning?
On average, captioners make slightly more than transcriptionists. This is because captioners have additional responsibilities, such as capturing background audio.
Note that specialized jobs, like medical transcription, for example, can pay as much or even more than most captioning gigs.
If closed captioning sounds interesting, but you’re still open to other suggestions, we have a few for you:
- Transcription Jobs: Transcription is similar to closed captioning, but you don’t have to caption sound effects, and it’s often audio-only.
- How to Become a Translator: If you know a second language and would like to do subtitles instead, this is the job for you.
- Voiceover Jobs: Instead of capturing audio, you’d create it. Voiceover artists read or narrate content such as videos, audiobooks, and commercials.
Video captioning is one of the easier online jobs to get. Still, top earners can make a decent chunk of change, especially if they can handle the stress of real-time captioning.
That said, you can choose one of the easier offline captioning jobs from our list and start today!
Have you worked at any of the companies we listed? Is a closed captioning job something you’re interested in? Leave us a comment, and don’t forget to share this article with the fastest typist you know to help them land a well-paid gig.