Closed captioning company training re-speakers in Youngstown

Ai-Media set up shop in Youngstown, teaching employees how to listen to a video while speaking the words they're hearing into a microphone

Re-speaker for Ai-Media in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new business that could change the way we see captions on TV is coming to Youngstown.

Monday night, the Youngstown Business Incubator hosted Ai-Media and introduced several of its new, local employees.

Ai-Media makes closed captions through re-speaking.

Todd Shay used to work at the GM Lordstown plant before being laid off in January.

Over a few months later in his job search, he found Ai-Media — an Australia-based company making roots in Youngstown, training re-speakers.

“We watch something and then actually respeak it into the software and we have to train the software to get accustomed to our voice,” Shay said.

They have to listen to a video while speaking the words they’re hearing into a microphone to create captions and punctuations for things like college lectures and speeches.

“I was really intrigued by it. I was just like, ‘This is really interesting,” Shay said.

For three weeks, 8 hours a day, he was trained to be a re-speaker. Out of 700 applicants, Shay was one of the 15 accepted.

“I was ecstatic. I was really happy,” he said.

Employees start off making $19 an hour but once they complete enough hours of captioning, they’ll be making $25 an hour.

Shay will be doing this from his home, setting his own schedule.

“It was stressful the first week because this is something you’ve never done before and the expectations were very, very high,” he said.

Monday’s event at the Youngstown Business Incubator introduced the company and employees like Shay to the area.

“Now for us to be seen around the world as a place to show up and make huge investments into the people here is a really big deal,” Congressman Tim Ryan said.

Ryan and others got to try out the software. It’s much more difficult than it seems.

While nothing is official, Ai-Media said it may have a new round of classes at the beginning of next year.

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