YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many people who watch television use the captioning feature so they can read what’s being said. One way that’s done is thru re-speaking.
There are more applications than just TV though, and some people that are hired as re-speakers get their training right here in Youngstown.
Re-speakers use voice-recognition technology to transcribe the spoken word. A company called Ai-Media creates access to content for people all over the world. From captioning live television broadcasts and university and college lectures to providing content for K-12 classrooms.
Turning the spoken word into text is no small feat. Punctuation is important and has to be spoken aloud. Language nuances make the job more challenging. For instance, in America, we stay period. In Australia, it is called full stop.
“When you first start, it seems impossible,” said Richard Boyle, with A-i Media.
Captioning for TV is one application, but it is mainly to provide text in a classroom setting or business setting.
The service is important for the deaf or someone who speaks English as a second language.
“By having captions on their own device, they can hear in real time with about a four or five-second delay what is being said by the lecturer,” said Rohan Williams, live operations manager.
A-i Media is training the next group of re-speakers in Youngstown. Seven hundred people applied for the class, but after taking tests and assessments, only 14 were accepted for the three-week training.
Software is set up to recognize voices and then workers use laptops, headphones and software to work from home.
Musicians and video game players can best handle the switching off of attention.
“A good way to find out is to turn on the TV or radio and practice repeating what they are saying in real time and see if you can keep up or you get lost and a bit flustered, which is often the case,” Williams said.
A-i Media provides captions for over half the universities in Australia. It wants to reach into America now because a state like California has more universities than all of Australia.
The company chose the Rust Belt to provide jobs where manufacturing opportunities are declining. Re-speakers start at about $19 per hour.
“We wanted to show these jobs working from home are attainable anywhere, and Youngstown seemed like the perfect place,” Boyle said.
The CEO of A-i Media had a relationship with Congressman Tim Ryan, which is why it located in the Youngstown Business Incubator.
For information on job oppotunities in Ohio, got to ohiomeansjobs.com.