Subtitlers transcribe audio to written words for television and movies. Subtitles serve a couple of purposes. They allow people to read what's being said on-screen, which is particularly helpful for the hearing impaired. They are also used to translate dialogue into another language. When it's done in advance and added to the video, it's called subtitling. When it's done in real time, it's called captioning and may include narrative words such as describing when a door is being slammed. Finding a job as a subtitler means approaching the businesses that directly cater to the media.
Browse Captioning Businesses
A number of businesses offer captioning services to the media, including VITAC and U.S. Captioning Company. If you live in areas where these companies operate, you can contact them directly or visit their websites to learn how to apply for jobs. You can also look into companies that aren't in your area, as some captioning jobs can be fulfilled from home. Whether this is an option depends on the company itself.
Check Current Openings
Closed captioning companies often post job vacancies on their websites. The Merrill Corporation, the parent company of VITAC, regularly posts openings for subtitlers. If the website doesn't post openings, find the contact information and call the human resources department for more information, or stop by if the business is a local one.
Compare Your Qualifications
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some captioners are trained on the job. However, not all companies want inexperienced subtitlers. Some seek job candidates who have gone to school to learn the technology specific to captioning. Others, like Merrill, also want candidates who have an excellent understanding of language, grammar and slang, who can type quickly without making many mistakes and who have a strong eye for detail. For foreign language subtitling, you'll need to be fluent in another language.
Apply for the Position
How you apply for an opening depends on the company. U.S. Captioning Company, for example, has an online submission that lets you upload your resume and a cover letter. Other companies may prefer that you come in person. If they do, bring a copy of your resume and be ready to fill out an application. You may also have to take a quality review test to assess your language and typing skills.