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I enjoy captioning and helping clients. I always get a sense of satisfaction out of increasing the level of accessibility in our client’s lives every day I work. But there have been a few, shall we say, awkward moments while on the job. And there’s certainly nothing more unique about the role than having an in-depth discussion with colleagues over the use of words like ‘past’ versus ‘passed’. It’s amazing. And speaking of interesting word usage…

Now, I haven’t captioned much live TV, but one shift from my earlier days always stands out above any others. I had to caption a cricket match with the South African team in full force. The commentator, much to my frustration, kept mentioning South African player Quinton de Kock. Why was I frustrated? I put ‘the cock’ out live on television instead of ‘de Kock’, despite all preventative measures in place! Awkward! It was a facepalm kind of moment – it really was. I had to manually fix his name in the captions every time it was mentioned, very embarrassing!

Earlier on in my role, I was captioning for a client in a workplace and while, admittedly, they were talking at great knots, errors kept coming up. What did the caption say? ‘Monkey’ instead of “I think the key…” The client paused their meeting, more than once might I add, to have a good laugh at the captions – I was pretty embarrassed and somewhat thankful they had no idea who I was as it seemed to be a highlight of their team meeting. At least we can help and amuse, right?

Finally, another instance that pops into my head was captioning for another client and on this occasion, the word ‘pregnant’ came out instead of ‘procedure’. How could they really be mixed up? I have no idea. The client had a good chuckle over this as one big group. Though to be fair on me, the word ‘pregnant’ had been previously mentioned! That counts, right?

I am certainly thankful for one thing – my amazing editing ability! As someone who has been in my role for a while now, there are quirky times, serious times and other interesting times in the day and life of a captioner – even if you feel like the butt of people’s jokes every once in a while. Some people have said that being a police officer gets great work stories, try being a captioner!

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Katrina O’ Keeffe
Captioner at Ai-Media

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