FAQs about our captioning services

Below are the questions we are most frequently asked either by potential clients or by DSA and Access to Work advisors. For an explanation of what the terms we use mean, please take a look at our glossary. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for we’d be delighted to answer your questions – email us on bookings@121captions.com or call us on +44 (0) 20 8012 8170.

What is the 121 Captions Quality Mark?

Quality Assured

The 121 Captions Quality Mark gives you confidence that the communications support you receive is provided by carefully-selected professionals who:

  • Work at a consistently high standard
  • Are appropriately qualified and experienced
  • Have passed our stringent vetting process where we check qualifications
  • Have passed our tests for speed and accuracy of captioning
  • Are members of NRCPD, NCRA or their appropriate national professional body
  • Hold DBS certificates where needed

The 121 Captions Quality Mark means you can expect the following from your captioner;

  • Confidentiality – Our captioners respect our clients’ confidentiality.
  • Integrity – Our captioners maintain the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.
  • Impartiality – Our captioners are non-discriminatory and impartial.
  • Professional development – Our captioners have deaf awareness training and regularly update their professional knowledge and skills.

We welcome feedback and provide a confidential and impartial customer comments and complaints service.

What is the 121 Captions money back guarantee?

Money Back

We’re so certain you’ll be delighted with our captioning services, we offer a no-quibble 100% money back guarantee.

If you’re not happy with our captioning services, we’ll give you your money back.

Live captioning services

How do I book captioning services?

Email us at bookings@121captions.com or call us on +44 (0) 20 8012 8170.

What set-up do I need for a live captioning session?

You can download our booklet which explains the best way to set up for a captioning session. You will need a stable internet connection and a good audio signal for our captioner.

If you have any queries, for example about microphones or connectivity issues, you are welcome to email us at bookings@121captions.com for an expert response.

How accurate is live captioning?

We use humans as they are more accurate than voice recognition technology.

Our steno captioners (also known as STTRs) are 99% accurate. They originally train as court reporters so have years of experience and training to be able to reach a consistently high level of accuracy.

Respeakers (voice writers) literally re-speak the words they hear into a software program to create captions. To give you an idea of what that looks like, switch the subtitles on during a football match or the national news. They can often achieve up to 95% accuracy; a difference of 4% between a respeaker and a steno captioner may not sound a lot but it makes a huge difference to readability and understanding.

A human captioner also inherently has more control over their captioning output than a respeaker, as a respeaker is dependent on their respeaking software to translate accurately.

How secure is the captioning platform?

We have the most advanced, secure and stable captioning platform in the world. The caption stream is secure WSS (Web Socket Secure) and HTTPS SSL encrypted and password protected for the user. No information is stored on our servers. Your transcripts are sent directly to you from your dashboard on the captioning platform. For more detailed information on security, please contact us for our security white paper.

How much does live captioning cost?

Contact us at bookings@121captions.com to find out! We are proud to combine the highest quality captioning services with value for money. Live captioning prices start from just GBP £45 / USD $70 per hour.

I am a student. Can I use 121 live captioning services?

If you have a disability or a hearing loss you can apply for a Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) grant to fund our captioning service during your studies. The application process for DSAs can take up to 14 weeks so apply early. Your university disability officer can help you.

I am an Access to Work client. Can I use 121 live captioning services?

121 Captions is an approved Access to Work supplier. We have several Access to Work clients using our live captioning services, onsite speech to text reporters and palantypists, and electronic notetakers. Contact us to discuss your needs.

I am blind and use braille. Can I use 121 captioning services?

Yes you can. You can link online to our captioner’s software, and captions are sent to your braille machine. This is known as braille captioning or braille CART.

What web browsers can I use?

The captioning platform has been thoroughly tested with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari on both PCs and Macs. The platform is not compatible with Internet Explorer.

What transcription services do you provide?

We can transcribe live webinars or join teleconference calls on your behalf and send you the transcription. You receive a complimentary first-draft transcript the moment your live captioning session ends.

We also transcribe off-line content as well, such as MP3 files.

What languages do you offer for live captioning?

We offer over 30 languages including:

Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

Offline captioning (subtitles)

Can you caption my video?

We can caption any type of video, whether it’s a corporate video, a Youtube or Vimeo film, a video for your intranet, an animation, or even a vine.

Our expert team of audio engineers and video editors will make sure your message looks good and sounds great. We can work with with a range of applications such as Adobe After Effects, AVID, Camtasia, Final Cut Pro, Flash and many more.

As well as subtitling videos with spoken English, we work with expert BSL interpreters to add captions to videos which only have sign language and no audio track.

Our offline captioning page explains the subtitle options available. Once you have read through them please contact us and we’ll be delighted to discuss your requirements in more detail.

How much does video subtitling cost?

As you will see from our offline captioning page, you have a range of captioning options available. The cost will vary depending on what you choose.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Something to consider is whether it would be useful for SEO purposes for Google to be able to search the entire spoken content of your online video, rather than just a few chosen keywords? By uploading a subtitle file to a YouTube video, the entire spoken content of the video becomes ’visible’ to Google and other search engines, and each word or phrase is searchable. Contact us to find out how your video can get better search engine results pages ranking.

What subtitle languages can I add to videos?

We subtitle in over 80 languages, whether it is the language of the audio, or the language of the target audience for your video.

Do you offer audio translation services?

We can translate the audio from your video into captions in the language of your target audience. Your translation will be carried out by linguistic professionals, who are all expert translators in their native language.

Do you provide In-Vision and BSL translation services?

As well as, or instead of captioning your video, we can also add a BSL interpreter in the bottom right hand corner of a screen. BSL users may have difficulty accessing captions. Using an interpreter provides equal access.  All our BSL translators and interpreters are qualified and experienced. We can edit the interpreter onto your video ourselves or provide them on an alpha channel for you to edit into your film.

Other services

What other services do you offer?

We provide a range of additional services to help you make your products, services and work environment more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people:

  • Training courses in communication tactics, deaf awareness and deafblind awareness – to make your business more deaf-friendly.
  • Disability equality training – to help your organisation and staff to be more inclusive.
  • HushPanels – to reduce environmental noise in your venue by 40%.
  • Access audits for the built environment – to help make your premises more accessible.

Please contact us for more information on these.

Words and phrases you might not be familiar with

If you’ve not used captioning before you might feel surrounded by unfamiliar technical terms! Don’t worry, we’ve explained the most common words and phrases here. If you can’t find the one you’re looking for, just get in touch and we’ll demystify it for you.


ATW Access to Work

ADA Americans with Disabilities Act 1990

ANP Association of Notetaking Professionals

ASL American Sign Language

BSL British Sign Language

Auslan Australian Sign Language

CAN Computer Assisted Notetaking A system for the visual display of a  speaker’s words.  A notetaker types what is being said on a standard computer (QWERTY) keyboard. The notes may be a simple summary of the spoken dialogue using any word processing software, or they may be much more comprehensive using special software like C-Print, TypeWell, or NoteEd.  The notes are then displayed on a laptop, monitor, or projection screen. Also known as Electronic Notetaking.

CART Communication Access Realtime Translation  Also known as Realtime Captioning, Live Verbatim Captioning, or Speech to Text Reporting. A system that produces a verbatim, near instantaneous text representation of a spoken message.  The spoken message is converted to text using either a stenotype machine or voice recognition technology, a laptop or notebook computer, and real-time software.  The text is normally displayed to a single reader on a laptop, smartphone, tablet or Google Glass, or to multiple readers by projection onto a large screen.  CART is usually used by people with hearing loss who use spoken language as their primary mode of communication.

CAT Computer Aided Transcription Software that takes steno shorthand and translates it back into English.

CC Closed Captioning Originally developed for people with hearing loss, these are the subtitles of speech and sound that you can add to TV programmes. Today, many other population groups find closed captioning/subtitling useful such as people learning English as a foreign language, children learning to read, patrons in a bar or other noisy places, and viewers in places where silence must be maintained such as in hospitals or libraries. Closed captions can be turned on and off as the viewer wishes.

CCP Certified CART Provider (USA)

CRR Certified Realtime Reporter (USA)

Code of conduct The standards refer to codes of conduct for Speech to Text Reporters.

Dictionary of terminology A list of words and their meanings. Speech to Text Reporters may develop specific dictionaries for different specialisms or individual clients.

DSA Disabled Students Allowance

Effective Communication  Effective communication is a term used in the ADA as a standard for communications access for people with hearing loss.

Electronic notetaker  An electronic notetaker is the individual who delivers realtime text from a QWERTY keyboard at speeds of up to 90 words per minute or 150 words per minute (condensed), or notes after a meeting.

FCC Federal Communications Commission

Forensic lipreading / speechreading Forensic lipreading is a service offered by 121 Captions where our specialists lipread CCTV and other video footage for the courts, police, private investigators.

Lipreading / speechreading  Lipreading is a system of deciphering lip movements, facial expressions, and body language to assist a person in understanding spoken language; only about 30% of speech sounds are clearly visible on the lips.

Lipspeaker   Also known as an Oral Interpreter. Someone  who has been professionally trained to be easy to lipread. During a presentation, meeting, conference etc the lipspeaker makes sure they are clearly visible to the person lipreading them, and silently and accurately repeats what is said . The lipspeaker reproduces the rhythm and phrasing of the words used by the speaker, supporting their meaning with gesture and facial expression.

Live captioning   See CART Communication Access Realtime Translation

NCRA   National Court Reporters Association

NRCPD   The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People

NVRA National Verbatim Reporters Association

Open Captions  On-screen text descriptions that display a video’s or film’s  dialogue, identify speakers, and describe other relevant sounds that are otherwise inaccessible to people with hearing loss. Open captions always are in view and cannot be turned off.

Oral Interpreter  Also known as a lipspeaker.

Output    The transcript that is produced by the Speech to Text Reporter or CART writer or Electronic Notetaker using the electronic shorthand system.

Realtime Captioning    The process of producing either open or closed captions simultaneously with a live event, such as the captioning of sports events and news programs on TV.  Realtime captioning incorporates a specialized computer system and stenotype machine / stenographic keyboard much like those used in courtrooms.

RWC Rear Window Captioning   A small panel which shows captions of the audio of a film in cinemas. Allows cinemagoers with hearing loss to view captions of a film without them being visible to everyone in the cinema.

Remote captions   When the captioner provides services remotely, from a separate location, using teleconferencing equipment.

Skype   A software application that allows users to make voice or video calls over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee. 121 captioners use Skype for voice calls to our clients.

STTR Speech to Text Reporter   Someone who delivers a verbatim computer-aided transcription which enables people with hearing loss to read communications during presentations, meetings, consultations or discussions. Also known as a CART Provider or CART Captioner.

Speechreading  See Lipreading

Steno machine  A machine used by court reporters, CART providers, and speech to text reporters to convert spoken language to text in real time.

Subtitles  See Closed Captions and Open Captions

Voice Recognition / ASR Automatic Speech Recognition  A software-based system that automatically converts speech to text. Typically the software must must be programmed to recognise a particular voice to produce reasonably accurate results.