Transcriptionist vs Captioner: Which Is The Better Pursuit For Your Goals?

Wondering about the differences between a transcriptionist vs captioner? You aren’t alone in this. The two roles share many similarities, and people sometimes get confused by each position. Transcriptionists and captioners both have important roles in the media industry.

They help make media and communication more accessible to everyone, like deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.

In this article, we’re going to look closely at these roles. You’ll learn:

  • Similarities and differences between transcriptionists and captioners
  • What a transcriptionist does
  • What a captioner does
  • Who uses transcriptionists and captioners

Let’s get into it!

What Is The Difference Between A Transcriptionist VS Captioner?


Both transcriptionists and captioners work in media and other industries. Each job is unique and serves a specific purpose. Let's look at the definition of each job to identify what each position does, how it works, salary, and more.

What Is A Transcriptionist?

Transcriptionists convert audio to text in a written transcript. This is generally a word-for-word transcript of the audio file, helpful for people who want to consume the content via text rather than audio.

For example, podcasts commonly offer a transcript version of their audio episode. So viewers can read the transcript of the podcast.

Transcription work can be fulfilling and rewarding. It’s not as easy as you might imagine. Transcriptionists must work in a quiet space, free of distraction, to carefully listen to audio files and transcribe them into written form.

There are gaps, pauses, and utterances in speech, and all that is captured in the audio file.

Transcriptionists may work with a style guide that gives instructions on transcribing pauses or words that can’t be understood over audio and other instructions.

This job is for someone who is professional, patient, a strong listener, well-organized, with careful attention to detail. You have to be meticulous in this kind of job and really have a careful ear to catch every detail.

What Are Examples Of Transcription Jobs?

Transcription work extends to many industries. These are examples of transcription jobs you may work:

  • Court reporter
  • Video content transcriptionist:
  • Legal transcription

Where To Find Transcription Jobs?

Find transcription jobs on job boards, freelance websites, transcription sites, and remote work websites. Here are some examples:


Transcriptionists need a quiet workspace with headphones and a computer. You’ll need access to transcription software for playing audio and video files. A foot pedal is optional. The purpose of a foot pedal is to start and stop without taking your hands off the keyboard.

You don't need a college degree or experience to work in transcription. This is one of the best entry-level careers with a pretty decent salary.

Here are 15 of the best work-from-home transcription jobs for beginners.

What Is A Captioner?

Captioners convert audio to text in a written caption. When you watch TV, there’s a setting for closed captioning which puts text on the screen to read from your TV show, when activated.

Captions can be displayed on TV shows, videos, movies, etc. It shows the words on the screen when listening to music on TV, too.

If you activate it on YouTube, it will also display the words from the YouTube video.

What Are Closed Captions?

You'll see a “CC” option for closed captions when watching a broadcast. These are the text-based form of the audio playing for the program. The text is synchronized, and it can be turned off or on by the viewer.

What Are Examples Of Captioning Jobs?

Captioning is one of the best ways how to make money typing.

Captioning jobs available include:

  • Real-Time Captioner
  • Broadcast Captioner
  • Offline Captioner
  • Corporate Captioner

Where To Find Captioning Jobs?

Captioner jobs can be found on job search websites, remote job boards, captioning companies, and freelancer platforms:

  • Upwork
  • Glassdoor
  • 3PlayMedia
  • CaptionMax


Captioners need a computer and access to captioning and editing software. Like transcriptionists, captioners need a quiet environment to work in. This is a good job for people who like to work independently, have strong attention to detail, have excellent listening skills, and are adaptable.

Similarities Between Transcriptionist VS Captioner

When looking at the jobs of a transcriptionist vs captioner, the two roles share a lot of similarities. The main one is that both jobs convert audio to written text.

Next, the skills needed to work both jobs are similar as well:

  • Strong listening skills
  • Typing skills
  • Great attention to detail
  • Adaptable
  • Strong grammar and punctuation skills

Who Uses Transcriptionists?

Transcriptionists are used by all kinds of people like professionals and companies.

Here are some examples:

  • Podcasters: For creating a written transcript for podcast episodes
  • Healthcare/medical companies and hospitals: To transcribe patient histories and reports
  • Content creators: To create written content for their audience
  • Market research companies: For transcribing interviews
  • Attorneys: For recording legal proceedings like depositions

Who Uses Captioners?

Captioners are generally used by media and publishing companies but other industries use captioners, too:

  • Entertainment: For special events or concerts
  • Customer service: In video tutorials/demonstrations 
  • Public transit: At bus stations or train stations to tell passengers about safety instructions, directions, and announcements
  • Company training/education: In training videos or online courses

Differences Between Transcriptionist VS Captioner

While transcriptionists and captioners share similar skills, there are key differences you should be aware of in these two roles.

First, the core job is different. For transcriptionists, the focus is to convert audio files into written text in a transcript, while captioners take audio and convert it to video captions. 

Transcriptionists will create a written transcript in text form in a document. Captioners will create on-screen video captions. There is also more emphasis on accessibility with captioning than transcription work.

Next, the main skillset needed for each role differs. For transcription work, you’ll need solid listening and typing skills to transcribe content accurately. Captioners rely on timing and synchronization to match audio and video accurately.

Then, lastly, the industries served are not the same. Transcription work can be present in many industries from media and healthcare to medical, academic, and business. Captioning is for the media and entertainment industry only.

Is It Better To Be A Transcriptionist Or Captioner?

The choice is yours! Transcriptionists and captioners have similar salaries. They also have some skills that overlap, so transitioning from one career to the other is possible.

When deciding which career is better for you, look at your personal interests in each job.

Transcription involves using your listening skills to decipher each audio file into a written transcript. It takes a precise ear with excellent typing skills. While captioning, it has more of a combined visual-audio focus.

Bottom Line

We just covered the differences between transcriptionist vs captioner. These two careers both play a critical role in communication. Regardless of your path, you’ll work in an important job that helps make content more accessible to everyone.

Which job are you leaning towards?

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