Transcriptionist vs Captioner: What are the main differences?

Being a transcriptionist or captioner involves transcribing audio to text, following style standards and working flexible hours.

Despite these similarities, they have different skills and objectives; we tell you what they are in this post.

If you want to be a captioner or a transcriptionist, the information will be helpful for you to choose one of these professions.

And if you are passionate about content creation, one possibility is to be a professional in both areas because they complement each other.

What is the difference between a captioner and a transcriptionist?

Being a captioner and a transcriber implies doing a different job but with essential contributions to people and the content creation industry.

We will detail what they do, their skills and each field's main advantages and disadvantages.

What skills a transcriptionist needs

A transcriptionist works with different multimedia files and converts them into a text files. To do this, he listens to the materials and creates textual or clean records based on his clients' requests.

Some general transcriptionists work with audio and videos such as podcasts, conferences, interviews and speeches on many different subjects.

what is the difference between a transcriptionist and a captioner

Other transcriptionists specialize in transcribing legal files, court recordings, medical records, insurance or financial records.

To perform their work, they require the following skills:

  • Excellent grammar, spelling and command of the language.
  • Knowledgeable in documentation, research, computers and different software
  • High ability to listen and filter out background noise and conversations
  • Speed and accuracy when typing on pc or laptop keyboard
  • Attention to detail

Advantages and disadvantages of being a transcriptionist

As with everything else, being a transcriptionist has advantages and disadvantages


  • High demand for services in media, marketing, finance, finance, legal, medical, insurance, and academia
  • Flexible schedules


  • In the beginning, it can be unprofitable
  • If you don't work on different projects, it is repetitive work
  • You are working with deadlines, and it can be stressful
  • Not easy to connect with others and create a support network

What skills a captioner needs

Captioning is a specialized form of transcribing. Captioning is designed to recreate the whole audio experience for viewers who are hard of hearing or who like to read text on the screen.

The captioner uses a machine called a stenotype, which allows him to synchronize the captions with the audio accurately and deliver to clients, in general, an SRT file.

difference between transcriptionist and captioner

One type of captioner transcribes live programs and events. Another deal with offline subtitling of already recorded audio and video, such as TV shows, movies and radio programs, is the most common form of subtitling.

To carry out this work, a captioner requires the following skills:

  • Excellent grammar and spelling
  • Focus, speed and accuracy, especially if subtitling live
  • Thoroughness and attention to detail
  • Stenography and computer skills

Advantages and disadvantages of being a captioner

Among others, it has the following advantages and disadvantages:


  • Flexible schedules, if working as an offline subtitle
  • Constant demand for services in multimedia, media, education and government institutions


  • It is a very technical and precise job
  • If you work as a real-time captioner, there is no possibility of flexible schedules

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, the most frequently asked questions will provide more information regarding the differences between transcriber and captioner.

Do you earn more by transcribing or subtitling?

Both transcribing and subtitling with full-time dedication generate a decent income. This variable income depends on your skills, education, experience and whether you work for the government sector or a private company.

will you make more money transcriptionist or captioner

If you work for a company that offers professional transcription and subtitling services, you will earn more for the subtitle files because of an additional synchronization step.

Regarding transcriptionists, those specialized in the legal, medical or financial fields earn more than a general transcriptionist.

The same goes for captioners; a real-time captioner will earn more than a subtitler of already recorded programs.

Is it better to be a transcriber or a captioner, or both?

It is better to be a professional in the area you are most passionate about; if you work in what you like, you will enjoy it and end up being super productive.

We do not believe that one area has more potential than another. Your income depends on you, on a job well done and being ambitious in a good way.

This means studying hard or working with passion to learn and to be able to go further.

Regarding whether to be both, it's great if you are interested in both worlds and want to be entrepreneurial and have more growth opportunities.

This implies diversifying; it will work if you have the capacity, time and resources. It will add much value because you will have a profile with more possibilities to develop as a professional.

If you decide to work in one area, you will do very well if you focus on being the best transcriptionist or captioner you can be.

Where can I study to become a captioner or transcriptionist?

To become a captioner or transcriptionist, you can study at community colleges and schools that offer technical training programs or online courses.

Another good option for training can be found in several universities through the diploma programs offered by the schools of law, social communication and literature.

Specifically in legal transcription, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers continuing education and certification for court reporters and stenographers.

Do I need a certificate to become a captioner?

For those aspiring to work as a captioner, the valuable Certified Real-Time Captioner (CRC) training is ideal.

is it better to be a transcriptionist or captioner

Do I need a degree to become a transcriptionist?

Most well-paid transcriptionist positions require at least a degree in the field or a certificate of completion of a transcription course.

And if you want to work as a freelancer, having diplomas or certificates of completion will also give you more credibility with potential clients.

Suppose you want to be a transcriptionist in the legal or medical field. In that case, you will need additional training to learn specialized terminology and ethical aspects, rules and regulations specific to these industries.


Being a transcriptionist and a captioner aims to facilitate access to information through different but complementary tasks.

The difference between captioners and transcriptionists lies mainly in their training and the industries where their work is most beneficial. Nevertheless, they have similar skills and their work, like everything else, has advantages and disadvantages.

Like other occupations in the age of artificial intelligence, uncertainty may arise regarding the future. It depends on which perspective you look at it because instead of understanding AI as a threat, you can see it as a resource.

An automated service like ScriptMe can save you much time and effort if you work as a transcriptionist or captioner. Additionally, you can access expensive cutting-edge technology, contact us, and we will tell you more about our service offerings.

Emil Nikkhah
Hi, I'm Emil Nikkhah.
For over 25 years, I have successfully built several television post-production companies.
Frustrated by the high cost and slowness of manual transcription and subtitling in this industry, we decided to create ScriptMe, a powerful software for automatic transcription and subtitling.
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