Live Captioning > Broadcast

How in the World Do the Captions Appear on Live Programming?

You may be wondering how it is possible for closed captioning to appear during a live news broadcast or sports game. Does the television magically decode the audio into words? Or is there someone frantically typing each letter out on a computer keyboard at superhuman speed? The answer is... neither!

The magic behind live captioning is found in a special stenographic keyboard powered by a highly-skilled and experienced real-time captioner. The steno machine allows the captioner to type each word phonetically, thus saving precious time by not having to type each individual letter. The steno machine is hooked up to a computer that translates the mysterious steno garble into readable English text. That text then gets sent through a phone line and modem to the television station. The text is then encoded into the broadcast signal as the program airs and presto! The program's audio is now magically decoded on your television screen as closed captions!

How Hard Is It to Use a Steno Machine?

A steno machine is not something that you can just sit down and type on. Each machine is programmed specifically by each writer and usually takes 2-3 years of school to be able to learn. Due to years of experience, our real-time captioners have a 98% or higher accuracy rate with the ability to type 250+ words per minute! Aberdeen's captioners are the best in the industry and many of them specialize in specific program content, meaning they have built up their steno dictionary with key terminology (Biblical, sports related, etc.).