On-site registration available for NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference

“The networking opportunities were great. I also learned a lot of good marketing strategies, which I am already employing in my business.” –Beth Fein, CLVS, BWA Video, Houston, TXIf you missed the deadline for online registration to attend the only NCRA event designed exclusively for owners and managers of court reporting and CART captioning firms, on-site registration is still available. You can still take advantage of the opportunity to network with many of the profession’s top firm owners and managers in beautiful St. Pete Beach, Fla., at the NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference, Jan. 28–31 at the Don CeSar hotel.

On-site registration will be available in the foyer of the Grand Ballroom at the Don Cesar hotel all three days of the events, beginning Jan. 28, 3:30-7 p.m.

Attendees, including freelancers and owners of firms of all sizes, can expect an agenda rich with innovative, interactive, and inspiring sessions led by some of the best leaders in today’s business world.

Inspiring speakers

Keynote speaker John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation, will share his insights into achieving business excellence. He will also present his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their businesses to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. The workshop will also help participants create focused plans for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. Watch Spence’s personal invitation to Firm Owners.

Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach will present an interactive session entitled “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” The presentation will focus on creating short-term profits and business value so attendees can learn how to plan as if they will run their business forever but act as if they’ll sell it tomorrow.

SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy, Steve Scott will lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. He will touch on the secrets to search engine optimization (SEO) success, tactics and techniques for online marketing, and social media marketing, among other topics.

Ample networking

Numerous networking opportunities include the “Build-It, Mix-It, Who Will Win It” opening event, reception, and dinner, a networking power half hour, free time during lunch, and a closing reception. Also on the schedule are educational events during breakfast sessions and a special welcome and meet-and-greet with NCRA’s new CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

Industry outlook

The annual NCRA State of the Industry session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they’re finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture.

Come join the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference this week and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet, no matter what size your company may be.

Go for the gold in NCRA’s Olympic student speed contest!

In celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, the NCRA Student/Teacher Committee is sponsoring an Olympic-themed speed test offered to all students at varying test speeds. The tests consist of five minutes of dictation at a speed level that each individual student is either currently working on or has just passed. In order to be eligible to win, students must pass the test with 96 percent accuracy. (After all, it is the Olympics!) One Literary and one Q&A test will be offered, and the faculty at each school will be responsible for dictating and grading the material.*

How to win: All students who pass a test are eligible for prizes; winners will be drawn at random for first (gold), second (silver), and third (bronze) prizes.

  • Gold medal prize: NCRA’s RPR Study Guide ($125 value)
  • Silver medal prize: Choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value)
  • Bronze medal prize: $25 Starbucks gift card

All students who participate in the contest, even if they don’t pass a test, will have their names and schools published in the student newsletter and the JCR. NCRA wants to showcase the hard work that students and schools are doing to promote the court reporting and captioning professions.

*Full details and rules for the contest will be sent to your teachers, so please make sure they know you would like to participate. The contest will run from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17.

For more information, please contact Debbie Kriegshauser at deborah0841@att.net or Ellen Goff at egoff@ncra.org.

Schools gear up to celebrate Court Reporting & Captioning Week

By Ellen Goff

February is the month to celebrate! NCRA has declared Feb. 10-17 the sixth annual National Court Reporting & Captioning Week, an event designed to encourage members and students in the court reporting and captioning professions to celebrate by hosting special events within the community and more. Up-to-Speed shares what court reporting programs are doing to mark this year’s event.

NCRA encourages all schools to get involved in Court Reporting & Captioning Week by highlighting the contributions of stenographic court reporters and captioners to society. Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a perfect opportunity for students to share with friends, family, and members of the community what their careers will involve and why they chose this field. Events held this week promote the profession and showcase the career opportunities in the court reporting and captioning fields.

Updated resources are available to assist with planning and promoting activities during the week such as press release templates, posters, brochures, presentations, and more. Resources are available at NCRA.org and include materials tailored to members, schools, and state associations. Be sure to let NCRA know how you plan to celebrate by sharing your stories and photos via email at pr@ncra.org.

Here’s a list of what some of the nation’s court reporting schools are planning to mark the event:

Cuyahoga Community College, Parma, Ohio

Court Reporting & Captioning Week will be widely celebrated at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). The students and faculty of the captioning and court reporting program will be hosting a panel of industry professionals for a discussion and Q&A session focused on encouraging students to “Envision Your Career!” Professionals will share their stories and advice about entering the field and building a career in court reporting and captioning.

Also during the week, Tri-C’s court reporting and captioning club will be conducting their annual Write-a-Thon fundraiser. Students will recruit sponsors who will pledge funds for every hour that the students practice their writing during the day. The Write-a-Thon will be held as a large group event in the main galleria on campus, so students will be able to show off their skills.

“We’re excited to hold our Write-a-Thon during Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2018,” says Todd Robie, president of the court reporting and captioning club. “This event is the cornerstone of our club’s efforts throughout the year to raise funding for our student members to attend professional events such as the NCRA Convention & Expo or the Ohio Court Reporters Association Annual Conference.”

Brown College of Court Reporting, Atlanta, Ga.

Brown College of Court Reporting is marking Court Reporting & Captioning Week with a week of games and prizes, guest speakers, and alumni to celebrate the profession and encourage students.

Monday: Grammar jam — Students will pick teams and go head to head in a Jeopardy!-style game show for prizes.

Tuesday: Financial literacy — A financial planner will be on campus to show students how to set themselves up for success.

Wednesday: Alumni event — Networking with fellow grads

Thursday: Guest speaker — Court reporter and mentor Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, will be sharing advice on what it takes to be a successful reporter.

Des Moines Area Community College, Newton, Iowa

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is planning a field trip with current students to the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines. They hope to visit a number of courtrooms, speak with reporters and judges, and visit with the court administrator about official positions in Iowa.

On Feb. 17, DMACC will host an open house and information session at the Newton campus. The event will include realtime demonstrations, a panel discussion with court reporters, and a tour of campus for prospective students.

Atlantic Technical College, Coconut Creek, Fla.

The Atlantic Technical College (ATC) court reporting program will be celebrating Court Reporting & Captioning Week with the following activities:

  • ATC court reporting students will tour the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Members of the Broward County Schools Court Reporting Advisory Committee will visit court reporting classes as guest speakers. They will share information with students about court reporting careers and South Florida court reporting agencies.
  • Students from various programs throughout the campus will be invited to tour the court reporting program to learn more about the program and court reporting careers available upon graduation.
  • NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week will be featured on ATC’s Facebook page.
  • ATC court reporting students will be participating in NCRA student activities.

Key College, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Key College’s court reporting program announces a weeklong celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

  • Three $1,000 scholarships will be given to new students. Winners will be selected by Florida employers within the court reporting industry.
  • High school students will be offered free, four-week introductory classes.
  • Guest speakers from the industry will be captioned and streamed to online students.
  • Alumni guests will provide real-world experiences and insight into the different opportunities available for graduates.
  • A banquet will be held honoring graduates who achieved the National Honor Society distinction.

All activities, as well as a tribute to Court Reporting & Captioning Week, will be featured on the school website and advertising.

The College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.

The College of Court Reporting (CCR) is planning to initiate and participate in several informative activities throughout Court Reporting & Captioning Week. First, CCR will focus on spreading the word about the court reporting profession to the community through fun competitions and seminars that will be held in local high school classrooms. CCR will also be posting to various social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) all week in order to share information about the field of court reporting and captioning. Finally, CCR will again participate in the Veteran’s History Project, which is a favorite of administrators and students alike.

“We believe that court reporting and captioning is worthy of national recognition and we are proud to take part in this national initiative,” said Nicky Rodriquez, admissions director at CCR.

Midstate College in Peoria, Ill.

Midstate College will be promoting a weeklong historical display about machine shorthand, starting with the Miles Bartholomew machine and ending with information about current machines and career options. Several machines and artifacts from a private collection will be part of the exhibit in the school’s library. In addition, a virtual display will be available at midstate.edu.

Plaza College, Forest Hills, N.Y.

During Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Plaza College will be celebrating with some exciting on-campus events:

Admissions open house: Students interested in a career in court reporting will have the opportunity to tour campus, see a realtime demonstration on a steno machine, and speak to court reporters currently working in the field. Program Director Oscar Garzon will also provide an overview of the program and career opportunities for graduates.

Mock trial: The paralegal and court reporting students will be conducting a mock trial during College Hour for all interested students to experience.

Visits from agencies: Throughout the week, various agencies from the area will be visiting classrooms to speak to graduating students about career opportunities and provide some encouraging words to students in their early semesters.

 

Students, instructors, staff, and alumni of court reporting programs are encouraged to share their Court Reporting & Captioning Week activities on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverSteno. And please share any scheduled events and programs with NCRA by sending them to pr@ncra.org.

Ellen Goff is NCRA’s Professional Development Manager. She can be reached at egoff@ncra.org.

Special hotel rates expire Jan. 5 for 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference

Take advantage of the specially negotiated hotel room rates at the beautiful Don Cesar hotel in St. Pete Beach, Fla. These rates expire Jan. 5. The luxurious Don CeSar hotel plays host to this year’s NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference taking place Jan. 28-30. The deadline to register for this business-focused conference is Jan. 12.

Attendees, including freelancers and owners of firms of all sizes, can expect an agenda rich with innovative, interactive, and inspiring sessions led by some of the best leaders in today’s business world.

Inspiring speakers

Keynote speaker John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation, will share his insights into achieving business excellence. He will also present his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their businesses to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. The workshop will also help participants create focused plans for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. Watch Spence’s personal invitation to Firm Owners.

Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach will present an interactive session entitled “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” The presentation will focus on creating short-term profits and business value so attendees can learn how to plan as if they will run their business forever but act as if they’ll sell it tomorrow.

SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy, Steve Scott will lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. He will touch on the secrets to search engine optimization (SEO) success, tactics and techniques for online marketing, and social media marketing, among other topics.

Ample networking

Numerous networking opportunities include the “Build-It, Mix-It, Who Will Win It” opening event, reception, and dinner, a networking power half hour, free time during lunch, and a closing reception. Also on the schedule are educational events during breakfast sessions and a special welcome and meet-and-greet with NCRA’s new CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

Industry outlook

The annual NCRA State of the Industry session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they’re finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture.

Come join the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference in January and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet, no matter what size your company may be. Register now, and don’t miss the special hotel rates set to expire on Jan. 5.

Plan ahead for learning opportunities through NCRA

calendar

Photo by Dafne Cholet

Mark your calendars and plan your learning path with NCRA through 2018. NCRA offers opportunities to earn CEUs in a variety of ways, from certification to webinars to live events. NCRA is your one-stop shop for your educational needs, whether you are working toward your next certification, your cycle ending date, or another goal.

Keep in mind that NCRA members can earn CEUs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS Exams.

Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change):

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 10-17), Memorial Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs, although members and students are invited to participate throughout the year. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on the NCRA Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as they are available.

Watch for more information in the JCR, in the JCR Weekly, and on TheJCR.com for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

Tri-C and Realtime Coach to host first national student realtime skills test competition

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), in Parma, Ohio, and Realtime Coach have partnered to host the first ever national realtime skills test competition for court reporting and captioning students. This competition is open to all students across the country, not just students at Tri-C. Registration for the event opens Dec. 20 and runs through Jan. 8, 2018. The tests will be offered at the end of January, and the winners’ names will be announced during NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 10-17.

According to Jen Krueger, RMR, CRI, CPE, professor at Tri-C’s captioning and court reporting program, the test will be a five-minute audio Q&A realtime skills examination. The cost to register is $10, and registration is limited to the first 200 students who sign up. Students can choose from 120 wpm, 140 wpm, 160 wpm, or 180 wpm but are limited to taking only one test.

“We were inspired to do something that would mimic the professional test competition, promote focused practice and effort regarding realtime writing, and motivate students to practice in a more competitive manner than they may normally experience,” said Krueger about what motivated the college to partner with Realtime Coach to host a national student competition.

“We wanted to offer something fun and challenging to students across the country,” added Kruger. Announcing the results during Court Reporting & Captioning Week will let us celebrate “the dedicated, excellent work of students, schools, and the court reporting industry,” she said. “Motivation to practice and enhance their skills, build accuracy and speed, find an inner strength to do well, [and] spotlight realtime writing skills should be an essential aspect of all court reporting and captioning students.”

Registration to compete in the contest will be through Realtime Coach; however, students do not have to be enrolled in Realtime Coach in any other way to participate. Registrants must attend a short webinar to demonstrate how to take the test. The webinar will be available Jan. 9, 2018, at 8 p.m. ET and again on Jan. 10, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET. Prior to participating in the contest, students will also have an opportunity to practice accessing, taking, and uploading a test.

To participate in the contest, students will register at Realtime Coach, create a new account, and complete the form that appears. They can then click the purchase button to buy their desired test. A realtime test score of 95 percent or higher is required to pass the test.

For more information about the realtime skills test competition, including practice and testing dates and times, contact Jen Krueger at jen.krueger@tri-c.edu.

Firm owners are heading to warm Florida this January

A trip to St. Pete Beach, Fla., in January to attend the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference makes the perfect gift for any freelancer or firm owner no matter what size the company. The deadline to register is Jan. 12 for this business-focused event that features opportunities for attendees to connect, learn, and energize as they network and join in stimulating and inspiring sessions. The event is Jan. 28-30 at the luxurious Don CeSar hotel.

“I have attended the Firm Owners Executive Conference almost every year since its inception. The seminars and keynote speakers provide me with a wealth of practical information and industry insight that is both timely and essential to our business’s success,” said Lisa DiMonte, RDR, CMRS, a freelance court reporter and CEO of Planet Depos in Washington, D.C.

“I am particularly excited about this year’s keynote speaker, John Spence. His reputation as a successful business leader and executive coach precedes him, and I believe we will gain valuable knowledge from him that will help propel our business into the next level of achievement and growth. I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones at this year’s conference in beautiful St. Pete Beach,” she added.

Top business leaders top the schedule

The 2018 agenda features an array of innovative and interactive sessions led by some of the best leaders in today’s business world.

Keynote speaker John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation, will share his insights into achieving business excellence. He will also present his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their business to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. The workshop will also help participants create a focused plan for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. View Spence’s personal invitation to Firm Owners.

Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach will present “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” The presentation will focus on creating short-term profits and business value so attendees can learn how to plan as if they will run their business forever but act as if they’ll sell it tomorrow.

SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy, Steve Scott will lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. He will touch on the secrets to search engine optimization (SEO) success, tactics and techniques for online marketing, and social media marketing, among other topics.

Industry outlook

The annual NCRA State of the Industry session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they are finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture.

Ample networking

Numerous networking opportunities include the “Build-It, Mix-It, Who Will Win It” opening event that will lead into dinner, a networking power half hour, free time during lunch, and a closing reception. Also on the schedule are education events during breakfast sessions and a special welcome and meet-and-greet with NCRA’s new CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

Register now for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference in January and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet, no matter what size your company may be. Special hotel rates for the event will also expire on Jan. 5.

Get insight from top business leaders at the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference


Time is running out to save on registration for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference in St. Pete Beach, Fla. After Dec. 15, there is a $100 late fee on registration.

This business-focused event promises attendees the opportunity to connect, learn, and energize when they network and participate in invigorating and motivating sessions. The event is from Jan. 28-30 at the luxurious Don Cesar hotel.

The NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference is the foremost event dedicated to owners of firms of all sizes — including freelancers — to help them increase their business savvy, make new connections, and take home the latest in best practices and strategies for ensuring the continued success of their firms.

“The biggest benefit for me is the opportunity to meet and get to know the respected firm owners from across the country and to see how they address and deal with the same business issues I face every day. Getting to know the colleagues and forging lasting relationships is very special as well,” said Rick Levy, RPR, a freelancer and owner of First Choice Reporting & Video in Miami, Fla. Levy has attended Firm Owners almost every year since 2012. “Networking with the firm owners allows me to feel more comfortable when I must find affiliates to refer my clients to for out of state depositions,” he added.

The 2018 agenda features an array of innovative, interactive, and inspiring sessions led by some of the best leaders in today’s business world. Keynote speaker John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation, will share his insights into achieving business excellence. He will also present his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their business to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. The workshop will also help participants create a focused plan for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. To learn more about Spence, view his video.

For more than 22 years, Spence has traveled worldwide to help people and businesses be more successful. He is the author of five books and co-author of several more, a business consultant, workshop facilitator, and executive coach with a client list that includes numerous Fortune 500 firms. His areas of expertise include leadership, high-performance teams, managing change, organizational culture, consultative selling, strategic planning, strategy execution, and the future of business.

He has also been recognized as one of the Top 100 Small Business Influencers in America, one of the Top 50 Small Business Experts in America, and one of the top 500 Leadership Development Experts in the World. In addition, the American Management Association named him one of America’s Top 50 Leaders to Watch. He has been a guest lecturer at more than 90 colleges and universities, including MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and the Wharton School of Business.

Building on John Spence’s sessions on developing business excellence and strategic planning, Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach will present a session entitled “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” This interactive presentation will focus on creating short-term profits and business value so attendees can learn how to plan as if they will run their business forever but act as if they’ll sell it tomorrow. Hearing has 30 years of experience as an executive leader, during which he has helped organizations successfully face complex market challenges head-on by identifying and implementing opportunities for revenue growth and operational improvements. Laubach has experience in both the legal and corporate sector. A skilled negotiator and deal closer, Laubach has sourced, negotiated, and closed countless acquisitions, joint ventures, and other business relationships as platforms for growth.

SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy, Steve Scott is also scheduled to lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. He will touch on the secrets to search engine optimization (SEO) success, tactics and techniques for online marketing, and social media marketing, among other topics.

Ample networking opportunities are also scheduled including the “Build-It, Mix-It, Who Will Win It” opening event followed by a reception and dinner on Jan. 28. Also on the agenda are a networking power half hour, free time during lunch, and a closing reception. Attendees will also enjoy education events during breakfast sessions and a special welcome and meet-and-greet with NCRA’s new CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

Finally, attendees will get access to the annual NCRA State of the Industry. This session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they’re finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture. “This coming year, I hope to take away ideas on what new technologies other firms are using and how they are dealing with the court reporter shortage across the country,” said Levy.

Come join the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference in January and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet, no matter what size your company may be. Don’t miss your chance to register and save by Dec. 15. Special hotel rates for the event will also expire on Jan. 5, 2018.

NCRA members take advantage of the Best. Friday. Ever.

On Black Friday, NCRA members had seven discounts and giveaways to take advantage of. These giveaways were tied to membership renewals, event registrations, and purchases for e-seminars and certification tests.

Hundreds of NCRA members renewed their membership on Black Friday for an opportunity to win one of several giveaways. Regina Berenato-Tell, RDR, CRR, an official from Hammonton, N.J., won a free registration for the NCRA Realtime Contest. Beranto-Tell works at the House of Representatives and has been a reporter for 30 years — she’ll probably bring some strong competition! Christy Fagan, RMR, CRR, a freelancer in Mansfield, Texas, won a free registration for the NCRA Speed Contest. The contests are held at the NCRA Convention & Expo. Speaking of Convention, Misty Bubke, RDR, CRR, an official in Kingsley, Iowa, won a free registration to the annual conference.

Cynthia Lew, RPR, a freelancer in Oakland, Calif., and Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, a freelancer in St. Paul, Minn., won a Kindle Fire for renewing their NCRA memberships. “The Kindle will be a new toy for me, and I’m up to the challenge,” said Lew. “In my student years, reading the JCR was a way to keep my goals in sight, and 20+ years later I’m still reading the articles. They keep me abreast of advances in technology (I’m something of a Luddite) and what issues our industry is facing across the country.”

NCRA is grateful for everyone who has renewed their memberships for 2018, on Black Friday as well as before and after the promotion.

Two members who registered for an NCRA Skills Test (SKT) on Black Friday won a free registration. Elia E. Carrión, RPR, a freelancer in Chicago, Ill., registered for the Certified Realtime Reporter SKT, and Holly Ortman, a student at Des Moines Area Community College won a leg of the Registered Professional Reporter SKT. Good luck as you work towards your certifications!

Starla Wiggins, RPR, CRR, a freelancer from Lovington, N.M., won a free NCRA e-seminar. Dozens of members purchased an e-seminar on Black Friday. Several members also took advantage of a 20 percent discount in the NCRA Store on Black Friday.

Teresa Evans, RMR, CRR, got an extra perk for registering for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference – she won a free spouse registration. Evans is a freelancer and owner of Realtime Reporters based in Charleston, W.Va. “I describe my career as getting paid to watch Lifetime TV!” said Evans. “I have been a member of NCRA throughout most of my career, and I encourage every reporter to be a member and take advantage of the educational offerings and the testing to receive advance certifications, as well as the networking of other professionals like yourself. Every month when I receive the magazine, I learn something, and each time I attend an event put on by NCRA, I come away enthused about my career and amazed at the professionals around the country who bring so much to the table.”

Captioning Awareness Week 2017

By Leah Willersdorf

Captioning Awareness Week is an initiative of Stagetext, a registered British charity that provides theater captioning and live subtitling in cultural venues so that d/Deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing audiences can access live events, including at museums, galleries, festivals, and collections.

Be a caption heroIn the United Kingdom, we use the term speech-to-text reporter (STTR) to refer to someone who is providing live subtitles or captions (captioner in the United States). In-house at Stagetext, however, the term captioner has an altogether different meaning. A captioner is someone who prepares the text in advance and then cues them live as the production is ongoing. The text scrolls up on a captioning unit and appears at the same time the words are spoken or sung.

Stagetext’s Captioning Awareness Week covers both forms of output, whether the text appears on a captioning unit or appears live via a STTR. It is all about being accessible. In fact, sometimes the two are used together, for example at festivals and concerts.

An example of a captioning unit

Captioning Awareness Week was prominent in a lot of our social media feeds over here during the week of Nov. 6-11. Live performances and events were happening around the nation, and everyone was tweeting or Facebooking about being a Caption Hero. To start the week off, there’s a Thunderclap. Thunderclap is a crowdspeaking platform for social media that is similar to a virtual flash mob. One message can be shared en masse so it will be more prominent in social networks for a length of time and others can join in.

In amongst all the performances and events of the week, Stagetext held an Open Day at the notorious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was honored to be asked to provide the live subtitles to an audience of venue owners and event organisers. The Open Day was to help the attendees to become more deaf aware and provide them an understanding of how everything works. My co-worker, Louise Pepper, and I were also asked to take part in a different way — by stepping out from behind our machines and actually talking about what we do as STTRs and how we see the profession moving forward.

Stagetext have been instrumental in making performances accessible even at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The individual screens are only provided in the slightly darker Upper Gallery. Why? Because the theater prides itself of replicating the era of Shakespeare in every way possible, and the viewing devices may project too much light if seated down in the lower- or ground-level areas.

Louise Pepper gives a flash talk on captioning

And so, with Captioning Awareness Week having completed a third successful year, I’m sure it will gather momentum with each passing year and continue to be a victory for promoting accessibility in theater and the arts. Next year is bound to be bigger and better!

In addition to Stagetext’s Captioning Awareness Week, the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters (BIVR) hosts an Awareness Weekend in the summer. This event is akin to a cross between the NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week and the national convention, but on a much, much smaller scale. The BIVR Awareness Weekend promotes all genres of the profession, whether reporting in court, U.S. depositions, arbitrations, regulatory proceedings, or captioning and speech-to-text. Our members cover it all, as do the NCRA’s. We will continue to work together with the NCRA in the promotion of all things stenography, and we are looking forward to Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2018 in February.

Leah Willersdorf is a freelancer in London, England, and the president of the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters. She can be reached at lmwillersdorf@yahoo.com.