As the University of South Carolina heads towards its last home football game of the 2014 season, we’d like to introduce you to one of our most experienced captioners, Joniel. This is the second season of Gamecock football for which Joniel has provided stadium captioning. The addition of stadium captioning at Williams-Brice Stadium allows the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to enjoy the public address announcements, song lyrics, videos, halftime performances, and anything else that is heard over the P.A. during breaks in the action. Below, you’ll find Joniel’s thoughts on love (of sports), loss (of one of her favorite players), and the “magical” names on the Gamecock roster.
CompuScripts Captioning: How did you get into closed captioning?
Joniel: I got into closed captioning when, during my work as a deposition reporter, I was encouraged by my then-boss (who is a true sister of my heart) to embrace the discipline, purchase captioning software, and provide services for a new client of her firm that required captioning. This occurred during the mid-1990s.
CC: What types of programs have you captioned during your career?
Joniel: My initial focus was government: council meetings, school boards, commissions. It has expanded to financial calls, news programs, sports-centric programs, both games and recaps, educational, devotional, local entertainment, cooking, and local-interest programs. I caption high school and college football games. I also use my captioning skills for onsite CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) presented to either individual participants who need text of a meeting or to a large audience. I have captioned the gamut of programs!
CC: You mentioned sports-centric programming. Are you a sports fan generally? What are your favorite teams?
Joniel: I am a sports fan. My particular interest is the Cleveland Indians because I caption their games often, and I admit to having a private connection: When I was a teenager, my sister’s husband was an outfielder on one of the Cleveland Indians’ farm teams. I avidly follow their progress each year, whether I caption their games or not. My 15-year-old grandson is quite a good little league player. I also follow the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks, as well as the Cleveland Browns and, of course, the USC Gamecocks. I have become a football fan mostly because I am now involved in captioning the Gamecocks’ home football games, and that has led me to follow and appreciate other teams.
CC: What are the greatest challenges in stadium captioning?
Joniel: The challenges relate mostly to not having a “view” of what the audience is seeing. I communicate with [CompuScripts’ owner] Debbie Dusseljee via text message, along with the control person onsite.
CC: What do you enjoy most about stadium captioning?
Joniel: I enjoy the football games I stadium caption because I feel more like a spectator than a captioner. The actual game-time captioning is less stressful because the audio I receive is a synopsis of the action rather than a play-by-play version, as is the case for network sports captioning. However, my pregame and halftime responsibilities include assembly, proofreading, and presenting a detailed script of the ceremonial events which occur during each game.
CC: Have you developed any favorite Gamecock players while captioning?
Joniel: Since I have captioned the Gamecocks for two years, I’ve developed favorites for each year. I thought Jadeveon Clowney (of course!) was a HERO last year. Sadly, he’s graduated. This year Sharrod Golightly and Pharoh Cooper are my favorites, mostly because I think their names are magical. I have no way of “seeing” other than through “hearing.”
CC: What have you learned about the University of South Carolina and Gamecock football while providing the stadium captioning?
Joniel: I have learned that the tradition of USC Gamecocks football is as close to a spiritual belief as I’ve ever witnessed. The Gamecock Crow, 2001 Space Odyssey, Sandstorm, the Mighty Sound of the Southeast, as well as the student-athletes all factor into the tradition, and the spectacle becomes complete and absorbing. It is welcoming and nurturing as well.
Is your sports franchise interested in bringing captioning to your stadium’s deaf and hard-of-hearing audience? CompuScripts Captioning has been providing stadium captioning since 2011. We’d love for you to contact us about providing stadium captioning to your team’s fans!