Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) For Deaf

Effective Means of Access

My first experience with Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), ironically, took place at a special conference for guides. A CART specialist was hired to follow me from workshop to workshop, providing me with equal access to everything that went on in the workshops. As we went from room to room, she would set up her stenotype equipment and a notebook computer for me to read the captions on, in each room.

Sometimes this led to humorous moments, as there was a scramble to locate the wires and electric sockets in each room before the workshop got started!

What is CART?

What is Communication Access Realtime Translation? With CART, everything that is said is "captioned" live for deaf and hard of hearing clients. In fact, it can be thought of as captioning for non-broadcast settings, such as classrooms, churches, meetings, and conferences. The captioning may be on a small screen that can be read only by one deaf person, the way it was for me at the conference. Or the CART captions can be displayed on an overhead (for a small group), broadcast on a large screen, on the internet, or broadcast via satellite.

The CART provider quickly types into a stenotype machine using machine shorthand, and the computer software translates that shorthand into real-time captions, matching the shorthand against what is in a specialized shorthand dictionary stored in the computer.

The process is so fast that there is hardly any lag time between what is said and what the deaf person is able to read. This speed made it possible for me to be an active participant in the workshops at the conference.

Wireless and Remote CART Services

Wireless CART
A representative from Stenocast wrote:
We wanted to let people in the deaf and hard of hearing communities know that there is equipment designed specifically for that application, the CART reporter providing real-time (or captions) to a deaf or hard of hearing individual.

The equipment is called a StenoCast X7. The X7 connects directly to the CART reporter's computer. The X7 comes with up to seven receivers. The receivers are plugged into the notebook computers utilized by the deaf or hard of hearing students. The students no longer need to be tethered directly to the CART reporter by a serial cable. They are free to sit anywhere in the classroom, up to 300 feet away from the CART reporter and still receive the wireless real-time feed.

If you or your college/university might be interested, the toll-free number of StenoCast is 800-836-9372, or the web address is

Remote CART
My understanding of how remote CART works is limited, and I have not experienced it yet. It involves the deaf or hard of hearing person using a computer to "sign on" to a website that carries the CART transmission.

How Do You Secure CART Services?

CART services are not that difficult to obtain, but just as with interpreters, there is a shortage of people skilled in this form of real-time captioning.

Some companies, such as Caption First, provide CART services both locally and nationally through remote technology.

In addition, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has an online CART Provider Directory that users can search to find CART providers in their area. After selecting the state, users can select CART as one of the search options for narrowing down the results. CARTWheel is a network of CART providers that have been endorsed by both other CART providers and deaf and hard of hearing clients. An online membership listing is available at the CARTWheel website.

How Do I Become a CART Services Provider?

Many if not most CART services providers get their start by developing court reporting skills, as the skills used are very similar. The NCRA has a web site devoted to CART, where members can access an online forum with a CART Reporting section and get answers to their questions. Plus, the CARTWheel web site offers an online newsletter, The CARTWheel Hub.

For intimate situations such as a visit to a doctor's office, I personally prefer to have an interpreter. For larger groups, I personally prefer CART services.

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