You may be wondering how the whole closed captioning process ends up with real-time text appearing 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 using a stenography machine 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 connected to software that has the captioner's personal dictionary and translates the steno data into English text. That text then gets sent through a phone line and modem or over IP 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 translated to captions and decoded by your television.
A steno machine is not something that you can just sit down and type on without training. A captioner or steno writer usually takes 2-5 years of school to be able to learn. With 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.).