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NER Certified Speech-to-Text Provider FAQs

Who are the members of the Committee and Task Force that created the NCSP?

Committee members:
Steve Clark, Immediate Past Chair, steno captioner, USA
Chris Ales, Past Secretary, voice captioner, USA
Ken Frommert, Board Member, industry, USA

Task Force members:
Josh Foley, Global Alliance member, steno captioner, Argentina
Lukasz Dutka, Board Member, voice captioner, Poland
Deanna Baker, Global Alliance member, steno captioner, USA


What is the NER?
The NER (which stands for number of words, edition error and recognition error) was developed by Dr. Pablo Romero-Fresco Pablo Romero Fresco • Academic Resume • Galma Observatory (uvigo.es), past Global Alliance Board Member and professor and researcher.

Please see this link NER model - Wikipedia for further explanation of the NER model for determining the accuracy of live captions (a.k.a. subtitles).

Additional resources: NER Model (video),   NER Model handout,    NER PowerPoint slidesThe NER grading model for the Global Alliance NCSP certification (short video)

What is the NCSP and how was it developed?
The NCSP is the Global Alliance’s Level 1 skills test. Additional levels of testing will be developed. The accuracy required to pass these Level 2 and Level 3 tests will be higher and the material will be more difficult.

Committee members and Task Force members have met since 2020 to determine the best and most accurate way to assess accuracy of live captions, and the NER model was chosen. The NER is used internationally to assess the accuracy of live broadcast captions. It is also used by many captioning companies globally to assess the accuracy of live CART (communication access realtime translation) captions.


Who is eligible to sit for the NCSP?
Any Global Alliance member is eligible to sit for the NCSP. Anyone who is not a Global Alliance member but would like to sit for the NCSP can register and will become a member upon registration.

The NCSP is open to all methods of live captioning.


What is the cost to test?
$300 USD, Global Alliance members
$495 USD, non-Global Alliance members (membership is active upon registration)
$300 USD, non-Global Alliance company service provider, plus company service provider variable membership rate (membership is active upon registration)


How is the NCSP administered?
The NCSP is administered online, using Zoom and StreamText.net. The test candidate must have a StreamText.net account and a laptop with a camera and microphone. The test candidate will be provided a Zoom link by the proctor.

The test consists of a ten-minute clip from an actual motivational speech and one-on-one interview with the presenter. During the clip the speed varies, there is the need for parenthetical information to be added by the captioner, and there is some slang used.

Before beginning the assessment, the proctor will have the test candidate verify identity (government-issued ID or passport). A one-minute clip from the same motivational speech is played to allow the test candidate to get a feel for the speaker and his style and to make any adjustments to audio and other computer settings.

Upon completion, the proctor will save the realtime transcript directly from StreamText.net. 


How is the realtime transcript graded?
The transcript is graded by Certified NER Evaluators. Two Global Alliance members have been trained by Pablo Romero-Fresco and have been awarded the Certified NER Evaluator designation and certificate.

An Excel spreadsheet has been created to compare the verbatim transcript of the assessment to the test candidate’s realtime transcript. Errors are marked, and the reason for marking an error is given where necessary. A pass/fail score is then determined. Each spreadsheet will be checked by both evaluators to ensure accuracy.


What is a passing score?
98% or above is a passing score when taking the Level 1 assessment.

The committee continues to work on Level 2 and Level 3 assessments. It is anticipated that the accuracy level for each will be 98.5% with the assessment recordings increasing in difficulty.


What happens when a test candidate passes the NCSP?
The test candidate is notified the test has been successfully passed, and a digital certificate is then sent to the test candidate.

The NCSP certificate is valid for one year. Upon attestation of continuing to provide realtime captioning services at a minimum of 10 hours per month, and maintaining good membership status in the Global Alliance, a renewal certificate will be sent annually. After four years, the certificate holder must retest to maintain NCSP certification.


What happens when a test candidate fails the NCSP?
The test candidate is notified the test has not been successfully passed. The test candidate is eligible to retest after three months, and the cost to retest is $250 USD.


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