Are you looking for a way to make money? One way is by captioning videos. You can caption videos from home, and the pay varies depending on the company that hires you to do it. This article will give an overview of what it takes to succeed as a video captioner, different companies hiring people in this field, and how much they are willing to pay.
What is Video Captioning?
Video captioning is the process of transcribing videos and providing them with real-time captions synchronized with the spoken words in a video. Video captioners use software to convert speech on film or videotape into text, displayed as subtitles when played back.
The transcript can serve two purposes: making the content accessible for deaf or hard of hearing viewers and enabling users who speak another language to understand what’s being communicated by watching it in their own tongue (although this is called subtitling).
The advent of online streaming media has increased the demand for video captioning services because people tend to watch many movies, TV shows, news clips, etc., in shorter periods than they would have previously watched linear television programming.
Captioned webcasts provide access to educational material for a broader population segment, including people with physical disabilities who cannot read or use a computer.
Typically, a video gets captioned by one person typing in English what they think is being said on screen. The software then converts it into text that can be displayed as subtitles when played back for viewers to read along and understand.
What’s the Difference between Captions and Subtitles?
Often, people confuse captioning and subtitling. The difference between the two can is as follows:
Captions: Captions display a transcript of dialogue and any sound effects or music in the scene. They also have time codes that correspond to where they appear on-screen, so people know when important things happen.
Subtitles: Subtitles, on the other hand, provide a translation for what is being said in another language by displaying text at the bottom of the screen during playback.
These two terms are often used interchangeably, especially by people who don’t know much about the industry. You must understand the difference because when you start applying for jobs captioning videos, you don’t want to apply to subtitling jobs accidentally.
What Skills Do You Need for Captioning?
Let’s talk about skills that you need to make money captioning videos. The good thing about captioning videos is that you can work from home. On the other hand, it’s a lot of hard work and takes patience to do well.
You need to know how to speak English fluently since most captioning jobs you will apply to require English. The next skill you need to have is the ability to type fast. To make even more money captioning videos, you have to understand what you hear and then get it down on the computer as quickly as possible, as accurately as you can.
Most captioning jobs pay per video minute. Let’s say a job pays you $1 per video minute for a video that is 5 minutes long for a total of $5. If it takes you an hour to transcribe that video, you’re essentially earning $5 an hour. However, if you can do it faster, say in half the time, you are doubling your hourly rate to $10 an hour. That’s a vast difference in pay!
Those are the two most essential requirements. Everything else you can either learn on the job.
Where Can You Get Trained?
What if you aren’t very good at typing or want to learn more about how to be a professional video captioner?
The best way to be trained is to take a class from Udemy, the online training platform.
The top-rated video captioning course is called “Getting Started with Video Captioning” and will teach you everything you need to know to make money captioning videos.
What Equipment Do You Need?
OK, so if you’re serious about making money captioning videos, you’ll need to invest in a few pieces of equipment. Luckily, you might have some of these things already, especially if you’ve started a side hustle as a transcriber.
First, you’re going to need a high-speed internet connection. If your internet is slow, that’s a big problem. You’re going to be captioning one video at a time, so you need a fast internet connection for that.
Another important thing is getting yourself a good quality laptop with plenty of memory and hard drive space. It needs to last for hours on end without overloading. If it isn’t durable enough, you’ll become frustrated as you tax the laptop to the max doing your captioning. If you currently don’t have a laptop or desktop that will do the job, you can pick one up for less than $500 on Amazon.
Another piece of hardware you’ll need is a quality pair of headphones. I suggest that you avoid any earphones or in-ear earbuds as most of these aren’t very good. I prefer over-the-ear headphones that cover my entire ear and provide some noise-canceling or noise reduction features. With captioning, you need to have the ability to focus on the sounds that are being spoken; having quality headphones makes this much more manageable.
You can easily spend over $200 on a pair of headphones, but this isn’t necessary. I picked up a pair of Brookstone over-the-ear wireless headphones with noise isolation and bass boost at Ross for just under $20.
They are excellent for captioning videos because they have good audio quality and don’t hurt my ears even after wearing them for a few hours. Here’s some headphones on Amazon if you need some.
In addition to those must-haves, the following could be helpful to have to make money captioning videos:
- A place where there is no noise, the lights are on, and it’s comfortable can make a big difference.
- An ergonomic chair can help you when it is time for work. It will make your body feel good, and you will be more productive.
- It would help if you had a good computer. It should have a word processing program and text documents.
- When you are watching live programs and captioning, it would be nice to have an extra monitor or television to watch the program and read lips.
- A foot pedal or similar equipment can help you stop and start videos. This is good when you want to use your hands to type without using them to control the video.
The company you work for might require you to use specific closed captioning software when working. If not, you might have a program that you like to use.
How Much Can You Earn as a Captioning Specialist?
So if you do decide to make money captioning videos, I’m sure your next question is about how much you can earn doing it.
And I’m happy to tell you that it varies a lot.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, court reporters and simultaneous captioners are in high demand. The median wage for this occupation was $61,660 as of May 2020, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $31,600, while the highest earners made more than double that amount at over $109,240 a year!
Freelance court reporters and simultaneous captioners have more flexibility in their work schedules than those a legal setting or office employs. Freelance reporters typically charge an hourly rate but may also sell additional copies of the transcript for a set price per page; courts reporter can do this as well.
Some people earn more than this and some less depending on the type of work and their years of experience. Another thing worth mentioning is just how much money you will depend on your location. For example, those who live in larger metropolitan areas might expect to make higher wages than someone living in rural America or another country. However, the cost of living might be more as well.
Another factor to consider regarding how much you can make captioning videos is how hard you are willing to work and how quickly you can learn new skills. It takes practice to become competent at captioning videos, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t pick it up right away or take longer than you expected.
Of course, court reporters are different than video captioners, and so the pay will be different.
Rev, one of the leading captioning companies, estimates that you could earn between 40 and 75 cents per minute of video. For top-tier earners who are efficient with their time, this can lead to over $1,500 each month! That means how much money you make is not dependent on how long you work but rather the length of your final video’s total duration, which requires good listening skills and typing speed to be successful. The less time spent working on a video equals more potential earnings.
Pros to Captioning Videos for Money
Now that you know a little about what it means to make money captioning videos let’s talk about some of the pros.
- You can set your own hours, so this is great for those looking to work part-time or need flexibility.
- It requires no formal education, and most companies will train you on the software they use, how to caption videos and other pertinent information.
- Some jobs allow you to travel if needed, which means getting paid while seeing a new city!
- You can make money where ever there is WiFi, which means working from home in pajamas all day long, not having an office commute, never wearing pants again (except if necessary), spending more time with family/friends because you’re not at work as much and scheduling vacations whenever — then coming back feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to work more.
- You can work for a single company or many depending on your preference and the availability of jobs in any given area.
- Many people who caption videos are freelancers, which means they get to pick their deadlines, milestones, projects, etc., with no boss looking over them telling them what to do when—not that you’ll miss them!
For some, it’s about freedom: not being confined by time; picking up shifts from another video captioner if they want/need more hours one week but less the next without anyone scheduling their life for them.
Cons to Captioning Videos for Money
While there are some definite advantages to making money from captioning videos, there are some disadvantages. Some of them include the following:
- You’ll need a great quality pair of headphones, a decent computer, fast internet, and maybe other equipment, depending on the type of job.
- The hours are unpredictable—you’re not going to know when you get the next assignment. This makes it hard for those with families that they’d like to spend time with or even just doing everyday things such as grocery shopping.
- Your schedule might change daily based on your workload, which means scheduling anything else is difficult (and stressful).
- There’s potential for increased work during weekends and holidays (again making any other plans impossible) because companies will pay more per hour during these times than others.
You have to put in some time and effort. You can’t just do it part-time for a while and expect to make money. You need to invest yourself into the profession if you want it to work out and make it worth your time.
Where Can You Find Captioning Jobs?
OK, so now that I’ve gone over some of the advantages and disadvantages, it’s time to go over where you can find captioning jobs. Luckily for you, several websites hire people to do captioning work. Here’s a great list of 20+ places you can apply to today to get started.
Rev is a company that specializes in subtitling content for television and film. A captioning service based entirely on a network of freelancers, Rev is the perfect way to get your start as a captioner. The gig itself requires very little more than what you’re likely using right now; log in to their site and select which project you want to work on.
Whether it be classic TV shows or modern movies, educational videos — even if they’re in languages that are not natively spoken by any of its employees—Rev has got all bases covered when it comes down to captions.
You do have to pass a test to apply to work with them. And from personal experience, I’d say to take the test seriously because if you don’t do it exactly like they want you to, you’ll fail the test.
GoTranscript is another big player in the captioning industry.
If you want a freelance company that pays its closed caption experts on time, this might be the best for you. Besides providing video captions, they also offer transcription services to their global clients. If you type fast and are good at captioning, you may want to join them. They pay around $0.72 per audio minute, which is not enough if you do it as your full-time job because of the low volume of projects.
Netflix is the most popular digital content platform in the world. The company also has a website for people who don’t speak English as their first language. Netflix frequently has openings for talented closed caption experts to join their team. You need to keep your eye on the job page of the website to grab an opportunity. You also need to check where you would be working before applying.
Since it was founded, PlayMedia has become a key player in the closed captioning and transcription market in the United States. And now, it is expanding to offer jobs all over the world. This company mainly works for international media houses and offers full-time and remote jobs to talented transcribers and closed caption experts.
VITAC is an outfit that specializes in closed captioning. This company works with many international media houses and digital platforms that are all over the world. To become a part of the team, you need some skills and to type very fast. You also need excellent communication skills. Once you apply, you will go through a real-time captioning assessment that takes about 30 minutes to complete. If you get 98% accuracy on the test, then you’ll move on to the next stage in the hiring process.
Aberdeen has three main categories of captioning experts: real-time captioning, offline captioning, and caption editors.
To apply for any position, you need to have a proper understanding of Christian terminology. You also need to know how to type with speed and accuracy. For a real-time or offline job, you need superior typing skills and good hand-eye coordination; but you must have previous experience in this industry if you want to be a caption editor.
Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD)
CSD tries to help deaf people communicate. The company needs closed caption experts to make movies and TV shows easy for deaf people. To apply, you need to have a good typing speed with excellent accuracy. CSD pays around $11 per hour right now, but that could change in the future because it is trying to find more ways to help the deaf community and hearing community to communicate.
Quick Caption may not be as prominent in the transcription and closed captioning industry as some other companies on this list, but it does provide legit projects to its freelance members. A small business, it works on a medium scale with clients who pay on time. So you will not face any problems about being paid for your work.
However, you shouldn’t count on Quick Caption for full-time work because there are often no open positions available at the company since they hire closed caption experts on an as-needed basis. Also, some of their freelance projects also require travel which would mean missing school, work, and other activities.
Copytalk Business Services (CBS)
CBS mainly provides transcription and closed captioning services to the leaders of the finance industry. You need to have some knowledge about financial products and tools before you work with this company. If you do, then it will be an advantage for you.
The company provides paid training by its in-house experts before assigning projects to freelancers. You also need to commit to at least 20 hours every week when you are working with them. They currently offer $8 per hour as a base wage, but sometimes the rate can be higher depending on what type of project they assign to you.
TranscribeMe offers transcription jobs and also closed captioning projects. One of the best things about this website is that you can take it as a part-time job with your other job. The projects are also legit. Right now, this company pays about $22 per hour to its freelance closed captioning experts, but if you have experience in this field, you can make more money.
Vanan offers many different kinds of closed captioning services to its clients. It now has new freelancers on board. If you are a skilled professional looking for a simple closed captioning project, Vanan is one of the best offers for you. Joining this company is very easy as well since all you need to do is fill in a simple joining form and mention any previous experience that you have had with closed captioning.
AI Media offers life and closed captioning services for TV channels and digital media houses around the world. They work with companies like Amazon and Shopify. So, there are always plenty of opportunities for people to do their closed captioning projects for those who work remotely. You can earn around $20 per hour while doing their closed captioning jobs. It can go as high as $42 per hour if you have a blazing-fast typing speed. Mainly, they offer these freelance opportunities in the USA, UK, and Australia.
Captionmax is one of the biggest providers for closed captioning in the United States. They do thousands of hours of audio and video work each year. The best thing about this company is that it employs people from its own office to do remote work – even if you work remotely, you will still get excellent benefits and good pay.
If you are looking for the best jobs, this is one of the best. Impact Media aims to satisfy its customers completely. It only offers freelance positions to people with great talent and superior efficiency. Besides, previous experience in this industry is also preferable. It would be best to have a good typing speed with near-perfect accuracy to secure your position with this website. One of the best things about this website is that it doesn’t require freelancers to have any college degree.
CaptioningStar now has openings for freelancers to join their team. It would help if you had a good typing speed with at least 99% accuracy to be selected. As they work with companies like CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, you should expect a salary of around $60 per hour on average.
Transperfect Translations is a company that specializes in translation and transcription services. For the last few years, it has also taken on closed captioning services. The company is freelance-friendly and now has several open positions for talented people who can close caption sound recordings. When you join this company, you will primarily work as a voice writer, and your job will be to transcribe and caption voice recordings.
National Captioning Institute (NCL)
NCL primarily works towards the betterment of deaf people and people with hearing disabilities. It helps those people to enjoy movies and videos by providing captions and subtitles. This website also offers live closed captioning, and you can apply for any position if you have a great typing speed. You can work on flexible shifts that run throughout the day, and the application process is pretty simple. The company also provides in-house training for new freelancers.
Talking Type Captions
This company offers closed captioning and subtitles to TV shows and movies. It started with film, then went to TV. It is now associated with channels like The History Channel and A&E. This company is looking for new freelance closed caption experts, but you cannot find any jobs on the website because they are offered for a short time. You can send your resume by filling out the contact form or emailing them.
RNK has recently made a name for itself in the transcription and closed captioning field. They make sure to provide excellent service to their clients. Besides getting complete captions for movies and videos, they also offer CC solutions for pre-recorded programs and TV programs. RNK is now accepting freelancers so that you can join the team as an independent contractor with either a full-time or part-time schedule. Right now, RNK pays $1 per audio/video minute for transcription or closed captioning.
Flexjobs is a site where people can find jobs that they can do from home. You need to pay for the membership, which is $14.95 a month. But you can set your account, so it does not automatically charge you each month if you want to try it for a month and see if it’s worth paying for on an ongoing basis.
This is another site that where you can find freelance captioning jobs. You can search by keyword, location, and type of job.
What makes Indeed an excellent place to find captioning jobs?
Indeed is a good place to find captioning jobs because many companies are looking for freelance video captioners. There are also job boards on Indeed that list available positions with different employers in the multimedia industry.
Video captioning is a great way to make money on the side. You can do it from home and usually work for multiple companies at once – so you don’t have to choose just one! Check out the list of video captioning services we’ve provided above if you’re interested in getting started with this exciting new business opportunity. Which company are you most excited about working with?
FAQ – Make Money Captioning Videos
How much does a closed captioner make?
The average pay for a closed captioner ranges from $30-$80 per hour.
How do I get certified to be a video captioning specialist?
You can take courses that will provide the necessary training needed to become certified and individual programs designed specifically for people who want to make money providing captions on videos.
What’s next after certification so I can start making money?
Next, you’ll need to find clients – either by getting listed with one of the online directories or contacting companies directly about freelance positions available in your area. You could also advertise your services locally if there is an industry conference coming up and let them know what type of service they would like.
How do you get paid captioning videos?
Captions can be submitted as a service or an end product. The price for either is generally negotiated; the more time you’ll have to spend, the higher your rate will likely be.
How do I know if there are any jobs available in my area?
One way to start would be to use online directories that list freelance captioning opportunities. The other way is to check out the companies listed above and see if they have any openings.
Are Rev video captioning jobs legit?
Rev is a legitimate company to work for and there are many people that make a good side hustle income from this company.
What’s the difference between captioning and subtitling?
Captions are intended for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers, while subtitles are primarily meant to translate the dialogue. If you need help with understanding what is going on in a video and some of the words have been changed from one language to another, you would use subtitles instead of captions.
What’s the difference between professional captioning and services that post jobs?
Professional captioners will often charge higher rates because they’re using their skillsets as a full-time job. In contrast, people posting freelance opportunities might not be charging as much since it can be more sporadic work depending on any openings.