You never know when someone will inspire you to go in a new direction. For Deanna Baker, RMR, FAPR, what looked to be a lifelong career in court reporting took an unexpected turn two-plus decades ago.
“I was living in Seattle, and captioning became interesting to me,” she recalls. “I was getting tired of attorneys, and there was a deaf and hard of hearing organization that I got introduced to. I started to work for a gentleman at Boeing who was profoundly hard of hearing, and his story really touched me.
“Through him, I got to know who the consumers of captioning were, and it became more important than just the job. I could see that captioning was helping people to get through their daily routine.”
Embracing the Changes
Now Baker runs a busy freelance captioner/consultant practice in Flagstaff, AZ, with a passion for the fast pace her career often demands.
“No two days are the same,” she explains. “Every day has a fresh challenge, and your schedule is all over the place. You can go from writing the Supreme Court justice confirmation hearings to a state legislature to professional sports, all in one day. You never know what the next phone call is going to be.”
Staying ahead of advances in captioning has always been a priority for Baker. “I’m constantly hearing from companies that say, ‘Do you know how to do this?’” she laughs. “I have to learn something new all the time: A different way of delivering the content over the Web, third-party this, fourth-party that – it’s a field where technology is constantly changing.”
Baker was an early adopter of iCap, the Realtime Captioning System from EEG which makes up the largest closed captioning and subtitle delivery network in the world. After being among a small group of first users soon after it was introduced in 2007, Baker estimates that a full 70% of her jobs are on iCap today.
“It’s definitely escalated over the years,” Baker confirms. “The interface is great, and adding new clients is very easy to do. If I get a call for a project on iCap saying, ‘Can you jump on this right now?’ I can get on a job in 30 seconds, that’s how quickly it works. If you’re picking up from someone that’s already on iCap, the switch is seamless. Afterwards, if there are any issues, you can simply review the log file.”
The efficiency of iCap also goes beyond the job itself. As a Cloud Service, the platform is allowing Baker to extend her range and keep building her business. “My local client Northern Arizona University just bought an iCap encoder,” she notes. “Usually I work with them onsite, but now if I happen to be out of town I can still cover by logging in with iCap. I want to be that presence for them -- iCap allows me to do that.”
A New World of Captioning
As the world of content creation and distribution change at a breakneck pace, Deanna Baker is glad to be along for the wild ride it’s taking captioners on.
“I can’t believe how often I hear from other captioners on social media, or in an email, asking, ‘Did you see this new solution?’” she says. “Technology is constantly being introduced that we not only have to learn how to use, but troubleshoot.
“I put on a lot of seminars for other captioners,” she continues, “and they don’t always believe me when I tell them that the writing is the easy part! The hard part is everything else that goes into it, that we have to understand and fix on the fly in order to be successful.”
This committed captioner is looking forward to a world where, someday, every job unfolds over iCap. “EEG has made things less complicated for captioners, not more,” Baker says. “With iCap, I can concentrate on doing my job.”