Last updated on July 22, 2023
I’d Rather be Writing Books but Captioning is What I do for a Living
by Lorilyn Roberts
I fire up the computer, turn on the modem, punch the TV remote control, hit the on-button on my other computer, flip the button on my stenograph machine, open the file—wait, I remember this is on iCap. I don’t need the modem for this show. I turn off the modem.
I am captioning golf tonight, 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., from Melbourne, Australia—the Talisker Masters. I’d better pull up the leaderboard on Google and check the spelling of those Asian names. I glance at Spark, the National Captioning Institute Messaging System – 37 captioners online captioning television shows all over the world. Only a handful will still be online when I finish my assigned show in the early morning.
I sit in my office chair in cotton pajamas alongside my bed, a candle burning on my dresser. A bag of Cheez-its and mug of coffee is close by—but not so close to my equipment that if I knocked it, it would be a disaster. I swallow a quick gulp in between strokes on my stenograph machine.
I have a long night ahead, but golf is easy to caption compared to hockey. I can see my captions on the Golf Channel without having to rely only on an audio feed (more commonly known as a telephone).
Such is the life of a closed captioner. I have been providing closed captioning for television for the last fifteen years. I work from my home—which has allowed me to stay at home and raise my two daughters—a good thing since I am a single mother by choice. I adopted my two daughters, 14 and 21, from Nepal and Vietnam. I also homeschooled them (my ninth grader is in a private school-home school program in high school now, which is nice).
I feel blessed to have the job I have, which pays well, but I hope to launch a new career as an author. I just finished my Master’s in Creative Writing and published my fourth book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, A Young Adult Christian Fantasy. Writing books is my passion, but closed captioning pays the bills. At fifty-seven, I continue to follow my dreams, knowing God will lead me and show me His perfect will, and for that, I am grateful.
To learn more about Lorilyn Roberts, visit https://lorilynroberts.com.
REMEMBER: There is no pit so deep, no hurt so painful, no secret so horrid that God can’t cover it through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Open up your heart to the infinite possibilities of living a life of love, no longer warped by bullying or scarred by deceitful words. Where there is life, there is hope—and healing!