So – you’re wondering what exactly is Live Captioning. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

We launched our VoiceBox Live Captioning service last year and haven’t looked back since. Today, we’re lucky enough to travel across the globe, to countless events of every type, providing our live captioning expertise.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into today’s topic.

Pre-recorded Captions vs Live Captioning

Since Hollywood’s most glamorous event, the Oscars, took place last Monday, subtitles became the talk of Tinseltown. Parasite, a Korean-language film, scooped Best Picture. This makes it the first movie not in English to win the accolade, sparking a discussion about how Anglo-American audiences perceive subtitling.

We’ve already looked at how movie subtitles can be a bridge between audiences and new cultures.

After all, nowadays, most of us are very familiar with that 1-inch of subtitling on the bottom of our screens – Whether it’s captioning for foreign-language speakers on the evening news, seeing captions on politician’s campaign videos as we scroll through Facebook, or just catching up on old Game of Thrones episodes (We still don’t know how Emilie Clarke managed to learn Dothraki so perfectly!)

But what do all of these scenarios have in common? They’re pre-recorded. Game of Thrones subtitlers worked tirelessly to produce seamless closed captions for the show. Politicians’ campaign managers hire subtitlers to highlight certain words in their videos. Even in a fast-paced newsroom, subtitlers can take some time to create accurate and captions for a news bulletin.

Live Captioning

How, then, can we subtitle live events – like key presentations, breaking news, conferences and live sport events? Is it even possible? And why should we do it?

Large stadium

How?

In short, the answer is: A team of talented and experienced stenographers. Using a palantypist machine, they can type up to 300 words a minute.

This creates captions which are then displayed almost instantaneously on either a large screen, computer or other mobile device.

Why?

Well, as a speech-to-text service, live captioning can make events more accessible and inclusive for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or simply out of earshot.

Live captioning also helps attendees who use English as an additional language or if they simply missed part of what the speaker said.

Want to know more? Check out our Live Captioning service here.

Sofia Ellen Lewis
Sofia Ellen Lewis

Since graduating from University of Bristol in 2018 with a First in Italian and Spanish BA, Sofia has gone on to become a skilled translator, content writer and digital marketer. Sofia has a passion for storytelling and has also recently dipped her toe into journalism. A self-proclaimed language nerd, she is always looking for suggestions on which language to learn next.