Tips to Working with a Captionist/Stenographer


A captionist is a professional who follows a professional code of ethics.  Auburn University hires captionists who will transcribe your lecture onsite and remotely.  They use laptop computers to provide real-time communication access for deaf or hard of hearing individuals. When there is a student in the classroom using captioning, consider the following communication tips: 

  • Communicate directly to the Deaf or hard of hearing student. 
  • A captionist or a technology specialist will arrive early to the location in order to set up equipment. The equipment usually consists of one or two laptops, a computer stand and power cords. 
  • The captionist may need to move a chair or table to be near an outlet. 
  • Be aware, the captionist will transcribe everything that is said. If you do not want something transcribed, do not say it. 
  • The transcription from the class is for the consumer only and the student has agreed that the transcripts will be used only for educational purposes.  If you would like a copy of the transcript to provide to the entire class, contact the Office of Accessibility to arrange for a copy to be emailed to you.
  • Provide the captionist with any course information, including: PowerPoint slides, handouts, readings, etc. This allows the captionist a chance to survey the course content and develop a quality dictionary of terms and acronyms for the captioning. 
  • Before showing a movie in class, please check to see if the movie is captioned and have the captions turned on for the showing.  If captions are not available, please contact the Assistive Technology Center as soon as possible.  For copyright reasons, a captionist may not transcribe a video without permission.
  • Remember, a captionist is a neutral communication facilitator and is unavailable to serve as student tutors, lab partners, or classroom participants.