Every Twins game has a Hudson touch -- literally
The Hudson company Riverside Captioning, a division of Northwest Court Reporters, went after the contract to provide captioning for the Twins stadium. Nationwide, 29 other companies bid on the exclusive contract that was awarded to Riverside.
"We feel very fortunate the Twins chose us," said Pat Nelson, co-owner.
They will be providing captioning for every one of the 84 home games.
"We started in March with the Gopher Game," said Nelson. "They wanted to make sure everything worked."
Nelson and/or her co-owner Cheri Benson, sit in a booth with 24 other people, who run all the signage, video boards and television monitors all around the stadium.
"Two seats down is the fellow in charge of the pyrotechnics," said Nelson. "They have fireworks at every game during the national anthem, home runs and if they win the game."
They start work about 45 minutes before each game captioning everything that is announced throughout the stadium. A headset feeds them the audio from the stadium announcer. Using a steno machine they capture the words. It is fed into a laptop computer and instantly translated to English.
"It is about a split second before it shows up on two Daktronics LED display signs, one at each end of the seats," said Nelson.
"I am a really big Twins fan now," said Nelson. "When you are sitting there, you can't help but get wrapped up in the energy. It is a long time to sit. Saturday night when they played the Brewers it was 4 hours and 45 minutes."
Captioning requires excellent grammar and spelling skills, intense concentration and a high level of accuracy.
It makes it possible for deaf and hard of hearing fans to fully appreciate the game.
The company is no stranger to captioning, which they have been doing since the mid-nineties. Billy Graham was one of their clients. They did all of his stadium events until he retired.
"We have done a lot of captioning both remote and onsite," said Nelson. "We also do off line captioning of prerecorded programs."
When Nelson started her career as a court reporter back in 1973 there weren't even computers to do real captioning. In fact, there was no such thing as captioning.
"I have been very fortunate to do something for 37 years that I love," said Nelson. "It's been a good career and in both court reporting and captioning we continue to learn."
"We learn a lot of stuff. It's just a fun, fun career," said Nelson, who admits she is now an avid Twins fan.