Frequently Asked Questions

Let us answer your questions!

What is the Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning?

The Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning, or the Global Alliance, is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to be the leading professional authority on speech-to-text captioning, representing all captioners, consumers, and industry. Our vision is simple: Universal accessibility to the spoken word via all forms of captioning.

Why does the Global Alliance exist?

We have one guiding vision: Universal and complete accessibility to the spoken word via all forms of captioning. Our mission is simple: To be the leading professional authority on speech-to-text captioning, representing all captioners, consumers, and industry. Fulfilling our vision and mission is why we exist. There is no other organization on the planet whose mission is to be the authority on every aspect of captioning. The Global Alliance exists to represent all captioners, regardless of how they produce captions or how their captions are used; all consumers, regardless of where they use captions and how; and all industry, regardless of size, history, or location.

Who started the Global Alliance and why?

The Global Alliance was started by three working professional captioners: Steve Clark, Karyn Menck, and Jen Schuck, each of whom has more than 15 years of captioning experience. The three of them understand the profession intimately. They feel the Global Alliance is best equipped to provide innovative insight as the captioning profession rapidly advances and to represent the consumers who use captioning in their daily lives.

Why should I join?

The Global Alliance recognizes the importance and value of all captioners, consumers, and industry. As a captioner you want to ensure your professional interests are represented. Consumers are vital members as they provide direct feedback that helps the Global Alliance set and refine its standards. With technology changing and improving at a rapid pace, the Global Alliance realizes the importance of industry having a seat at the table.

Does the Global Alliance intend to set the global standard for captioning, and, if so, why is this important? As part of setting the standard for captioning, will you provide testing and certification of captioning professionals?

Yes. Every person in the world who uses realtime captioning is entitled to accurate and readable captions. There are certainly instances of subpar realtime captioning from all methods of captioning. Our certification process will test captioning accuracy and quality in a real-world environment.

Why does the Global Alliance feel it is important to certify captioning methods?

Certification allows consumers and entities to make an informed decision when choosing a service provider. Consumers and entities are entitled to a captioner or a method of captioning that demonstrates the skills, knowledge, and ability to produce captions in a real-world setting while meeting the Global Alliance’s standards.  Global Alliance designations and certifications demonstrate a commitment to maintaining high standards and providing complete accessibility via captioning.

Why is it important for the Global Alliance to serve ALL captioning professionals regardless of how captions are created?

Regardless of how you create or produce captions, and regardless of whether your captions are displayed in realtime or postproduction, the Global Alliance embraces different methodologies. As long as professional certification standards are met, and your captions help to fulfill our vision, we welcome you as a professional member of the Global Alliance.

The captioning profession is all about serving individuals who use captioning. By having one organization, together we can ensure that the highest standards are maintained. Technology is rapidly changing and improving. By embracing all methods of captioning, and keeping the standards high, the consumer will always be well-served.

Why allow non-steno realtime captioners?

While we understand steno captioners provide high-speed and accurate captions, we are also aware that other speech-to-text methods can be effective in certain environments.  Newer methods may not yet always meet the accuracy required.  However, the Global Alliance realizes the speed at which technology is progressing.  Introducing the human element to work in tandem with evolving technologies certainly makes it possible for industry standards to be achieved. We welcome all captioners who strive to provide the best quality captions, regardless of the method used to create them, and, where applicable, meet the Global Alliance’s certification or designation requirements.

Why should I pay to be a member of an organization that has no history?

The Global Alliance is in its infancy, but those who are leading it have years of professional experience. We encourage you to join us in leading this organization as it takes all of us forward into the next era of captioning.

Why are postproduction captioners allowed to be members?

The Global Alliance is committed to representing all speech-to-text captioners and all forms of captioning, realtime or postproduction, and all those who produce captions, benefit from captions, or support the captioning profession. Together we can better support those who rely on captioning in their everyday lives.

Will the Global Alliance lobby for improved standards?

The Global Alliance Board of Directors will determine when it is necessary to lobby or advocate for the profession to meet consumer needs. 

Are the consumers that the Global Alliance refers to all deaf or hard of hearing? How is captioning used other than for individuals with hearing loss?

“Consumers” refers to anyone who uses realtime captioning in any environment.  Captioning may be used in many settings, including:

  • When the caption content is other than your native language
  • Watching online with sound muted
  • Assisting anyone with auditory processing disorders
  • Assisting those who are visual learners
  • Aiding in understanding complex topics and accents
  • Listening to content with technical terminology
  • Watching television in a noisy environment
What are the different types of captioning?

Realtime captioning and postproduction captioning.

Realtime captioning is the live, simultaneous display of text to match the spoken word and includes parenthetical information to alert the consumer to nonverbal sounds or actions.

Postproduction captioning is when captions are added to recorded material after the event has occurred. Parenthetical information is added to alert the consumer to nonverbal sounds or actions.

Why create this alliance when other professional groups exist?

The Global Alliance’s mission is to be the leading professional authority on speech-to-text captioning. We welcome anyone who is a captioner, uses captions, or supports the captioning profession. Our goal is to bring together all individuals, groups, organizations, and industry leaders to ensure universal accessibility to the spoken word via all forms of captioning.  We hope all captioners will see the value in joining, participating in, and leading the Global Alliance.

A tremendous amount of time and energy has been invested to ensure the successful launch of the Global Alliance. Now we need you to join us and help lead your fellow professionals, consumers, and industry to ensure the Global Alliance’s success and growth.