The C-Print Pro Server program allows you to import files in .txt and .csv (comma separated value) formats as dictionaries. This can be helpful if you have a list of vocabulary words and you’d like to create a dictionary, but you don’t have access to the C-Print software. But if you have access to Microsoft Excel, Word, or Notepad, you can create the list of abbreviations and expansions, save it in the appropriate format, and then import the file into C-Print Pro Server when you’re ready.
A free program called AutoHotkey makes it possible for you to create a script of your C-Print dictionary entries, and when you run the script, your entries will expand in other programs, like Microsoft PowerPoint or Outlook! It’s not quite like using the C-Print software and dictionary features, but it’s a great way to practice using the abbreviation system!
If your WPM without abbreviations is close to your overall WPM with abbreviations, then you probably need to focus on building your abbreviation usage and building your dictionaries. Add words and phrases you are encountering in classes, etc. Commonly used phrases can save a ton of keystrokes. For example, if you are in a class where they say “chemical warfare” a lot, create an abbreviation for the entire phrase “chemical warfare.” Phrases make a huge difference. The more abbreviations you have, the more you can use, and the higher your overall WPM w/abbreviations will be relative to your WPM w/o abbreviations. Then you will know that the C-Print system is helping you.
If your WPM without abbreviations is low, then your focus should probably be less on C-Print and more on becoming a faster typist. You may have an abbreviation for every word and phrase in the English language, but if you can’t get them typed quickly enough the benefits will be marginal. And typing speed comes with practice and relaxation. (I find that tense typists slow themselves down.) Another good habit to always type everything at full speed, even when it is just a personal email. Always type as fast as you can and you will get faster and faster. It does take time, though. If you improve 3-to-5 WPM in a semester, you will have an improvement of 6-to-10 WPM in a year!
Some fonts have more symbols available (in Windows Character Map), which can make captioning math and other symbol-heavy classes much easier. A good option is Lucida Sans Unicode. To learn how to add symbols to your dictionary entries, refer to the Character Map section in the C-Print Pro Server User Guide (Help menu).
Trying to caption for films and videos can be very challenging! Did you know that many transcripts for films, videos, and television shows are available on the Internet! Rather than try to capture the spoken information in an uncaptioned a video, you may be able to open a copy of a transcript on the Client laptop. Simply search for the transcript via your Internet browser, or try one of these transcript sites:
- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/ - transcripts for PBS's Nova programs
- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ - transcripts for PBS’s Frontline programs
- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3719710/ - transcripts for some MSNBC news shows
- http://www.opensubtitles.org/en - for subtitle files for movies and television shows (downloaded files are in .srt format, which can be opened in any text editor or word processing program)
- http://www.lexisnexis.com/ap/academic/ - if available (may need to log in)
A suggestion to deal with names... Add a person's last name into the dictionary. For example, klntn = Clinton. To add the person's first and last name, use the abbreviation of the last name followed by the first initial. For example, klntnb = Bill Clinton. Also, klntnh = Hillary Clinton. Another option is to put the first initial in front of the last name in the abbreviation. For example, bklntn = Bill Clinton.
When you make a typo, instead of correcting it with quick erase (Ctrl Ctrl), try to quick-add it as an abbreviation for the correct word. If you quick-add the typo as an abbreviation (Ctrl /), when you hit the key combination again, the correct word will appear and you won’t have to correct it!
Use the first 3 or 4 letters of a discipline as a brief form and make related abbreviations off the brief form. For example, bio = biology, biol = biological, bioll = biologically, biost = biologist, biosts = biologists.
Avoid conflicts in your dictionary by adding a symbol such as a dash or forward slash at the beginning of the abbreviation. For example, for famous places you could use a dash, -wtc = World Trade Center, and for famous people you could use a slash, /mlk = Martin Luther King.
When available, add book and media titles to your dictionary ahead of time to save keystrokes and reduce editing time. Adding formatting to the expansions can also save time, helps avoid fumbling with the keyboard shortcuts in real time, and improves the appearance of the transcript.
Always save a file at the beginning of the session. That way, the Autosave feature will periodically save the content and you can quickly locate and reopen the file if necessary.
Work: Laptop stand, power cord, crossover or Ethernet cable, extension cord (6-9’), screen cleaning cloth, information for new users/presenters, paper and pen (in case of a technical issue), schedule, maps
Personal: antibacterial wipes, Kleenex, small first aid kit (include aspirin, etc.), mints, bottle of water, a healthy snack, rain gear (poncho or umbrella), identification
Remember – Turn your cell phone off or put it on vibrate!
Whenever captioning in a dimly lit situation such as during videos, movie clips, theater, use light blue font on a dark blue background. It does not illuminate the room, and allows the eyes to adjust and is readable without eyestrain.
Note that captioning in a darkroom (photo development) is much different and requires a number of adjustments.
Make sure that you can quickly and accurately communicate emergency information to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing. Have abbreviations in your main dictionary that will expand to directives about what to do if there is an emergency. For example, ask the teacher what instructions they would give for a fire drill and add them as an expansion to your dictionary with a quick, memorable brief form, like ‘eee’ or ‘efd’. Put the expansion in capital, bold letters to add emphasis. You can also learn some emergency signs if the deaf/hard or hearing person uses sign language. Remember, a captionist’s role is to facilitate communication, and in an emergency communication can be the difference between life and death!
Speakers sometimes say things that can be misunderstood, especially if a deaf/hard of hearing person does not see the speaker or have access to their tone. For example, a teacher may say, “the whole class failed that test!,” but then smiles or gives a thumbs-up sign. A deaf student looking at the text display may take this seriously if she or he did not look up at the teacher at the right moment to see the smile or hand gesture. Accurately convey a speaker’s meaning using text or emoticons. In the scenario previously mentioned, you could add the emoticon ;-), or the text (just kidding!). Emoticons are great tools and commonly used in text messaging and other social networking. For more information, do a web search for ‘emoticons’.
To develop your speed skills, struggle to get verbatim rather than to paraphrase for key information. If you don't push for verbatim, you won't develop more speed, both in your fingers and in mental processing. Also, practice with expansions off (with any audio that challenges you) to get an idea of how often you should have abbreviated and did NOT. Try for verbatim, and ignore typos. Push yourself, and if you stop or get behind, jump in at a new spot. This helps with your processing and abbreviation skills. Type with C-Print abbreviations everywhere you can, like when you’re working on email or even using IM. This is especially helpful if you are new,! You can type the content in C-Print Pro and copy and paste, OR you can use the AutoHotkey script.
Always take time to review your own real time transcripts. Things to look at include — use of abbreviations (unexpanded, not used, not available), typos, formatting, spelling, white space, punctuation, sentence completion, tone/expression communication, gaps in or missed information. Read over transcripts, new and old! Look for ways to improve your skills and for ways you have improved! Other ways to generate feedback:
- Arrange a peer review – Ask another captionist to provide feedback and suggestions using the criteria above or some you have developed. This can be done by providing the captionist with a real time transcript or by arranging for the captionist to view a real time session (via a C-Print client app or a screen share program).
- Record a captioning session (it can be a brief practice session) using a screen recording application. There are a few free applications available (for example, Jing and Krut), or you can purchase an application if desired (for example, Camtasia).
Include new lines, tabs, punctuation, and character formatting (bold) in the expansions of your speaker indicators to save time and keystrokes. For example, in an expansion add two new lines (Enter, Enter) before the text to double-space to the new paragraph.
If you are having trouble “locating” a key without looking at the keyboard, for example, the Ctrl key, put a pad on the key so it’s easier to identify (like an un-medicated corn cushion ☺). It pads the key, and it is effortless to find and use the key with the cushion there.
If you want your files to order themselves chronologically when the setting is to list by file name start with this naming convention.
You must add the .cps to avoid it cutting off after the first peroid. If you do multiple jobs a day you can add time after the day and then the name of the course or meeting. This is especially helpful now with the on-the-fly exporting feature. As an example, here is how I would save this hint if I were captioning.
Test your speed:
Peter's online typing course:
TypeRacer online global typing competition:
TyprX typing races:
TyperA speed tests: