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Communications Access Real Time (CART) is a system that provides access to spoken information for people with hearing loss. The CART system operator generally began as a court reporter.

CART operators use a court reporting machine to input spoken text. These machines are quite complex, but they are much faster than a typewriter because they allow for inputting words a syllable at a time rather than a word at a time.

CART operators, like real time television captioners, must be able to input spoken information as fast as a person speaks, and the better ones are able to keep up with all but the most rapid speakers.

The output of the court reporting machine is fed to a computer, which produces a text document that corresponds very closely to the words used by the speaker. (The CART reporter has some license to change the words, as long as the resulting message is true to the original.

Once in the computer, the text can be displayed on a computer monitor (for one or two users) or projected onto a screen (for tens, hundreds, or thousands of users.)

CART is a wonderful system for late-deafened people, and is generally their system of choice.

April 2001 – The intent of many accessibility laws is to provide a person with a disability with a service that is functionally equivalent to the service available to a person without disability. It’s not a real clear definition, but one that can provoke considerable thought and discussion. Here’s aVERY interesting article on that topic by a CART user with NORMAL hearing!

August 2001 – It seems that CART has grown up before our very eyes. There are still too few reporters and other growing pains, but the field is well on its way to becoming a profession. Here is an article by Maureen McGuire and Pete Wacht on finding a good CART reporter. The article recently appeared in NVRC News. As always, we appreciate their permission to share their information with you.

June 2002 – cartinfo.org Aids CART Consumers

February 2003 – I’m really excited about the possibilities of using voice recognition to do live captioning. Here’s a report on the use of voice recognition to caption an ALDA meeting.

December 2003 – Here’s an interesting article by Shelley Arthur about similarities and collaboration between CART reporters and ASL interpreters!

January 2004 – You’ve probably been hearing a bit about remote CART. That’s the term used to describe a situation in which a captioner provides captions without being physically present. Here’s an article on remote CART from the 2003 ALDA conference.

January 2004 – With television and movies increasingly being captioned, surely our public servants in Washington are providing access to their proceedings, right? You’d think so, right? Then you should take a look at this!

March 2006 – You may be aware of C-Print as an alternative to CART. Demand for C-Print is skyrocketing at NTID!

June 2007 – School to fight ruling that student should have CART

December 2007 – Court affirms real-time captioning for 2nd deaf student

April 2008 – Everything you always wanted to know about CART

April 2008 – Demand for Court Reporters Up; Supply Down

November 2008 – Speech to Text FAQs

November 2008 – Speech to Text Considerations

November 2008 – National Organization Promotes Speech to Text Services

November 2008 – Comparison of Speech to Text Systems and Transcripts

February 2009 – New C-Print Provides for Graphics as Well as Text

June 2009 – Captioning the HLAA Convention

February 2010 – NCRA Captioning Guidelines

July 2011 – Partners Offer Automated Lecture Captions

More on this and related topics


cartinfo.org Aids CART Consumers

June 2002

Editor: Hard of hearing and late-deafened people love CART, but I don’t think they have access to it nearly often enough. They often don’t realize that they are entitled to communications access or they find it just to troublesome to deal with service providers to get CART. Here’s some information on a website that can help. For additional information, please visit the NCRA Listing in our Resource Directory.


The demand for CART has grown tremendously in the last few years, driven primarily by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which recognizes CART as an assistive technology that affords “effective communication access.” Unfortunately, many times the institutions, organizations and companies that are required to ensure communication access for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing don’t understand the benefits of CART or how to obtain it.

To remedy this situation, NCRA has introduced the Communication Access Information Center, a Web site that contains information regarding CART specifically for CART consumers and those who decide whether or not the service will be provided. Some of the topics covered include:

+How to locate a CART provider
+What to expect from a CART provider
+The many environments where CART can be put to use
+The benefits of CART resources for obtaining CART in the elementary, secondary and postsecondary school settings
+Recent legal decisions involving CART


Senate Committee to Caption Proceedings

January 2004

Editor: I was shocked to see this report that a Senate committee will launch a pilot program to caption its proceedings, and they might consider captioning more proceedings if they can afford it. They’re just now thinking about captioning their proceedings? They’re not sure they can afford it? How many gazillion dollars are we spending on pork barrel projects, corporate welfare, and a host of other dubious expenditures?

Can someone tell me why it’s ok for our Federal government to deny people with hearing loss access to its proceedings? Can someone explain why everyone with hearing loss isn’t up in arms about this? Can someone please offer some ideas on how we can get universal communications access to be as readily accepted as universal wheelchair access? Please do send your thoughts to your obviously frustrated editor.

Here’s the announcement.


The Senate will begin providing closed captioning for Judiciary Committee hearings next month, an experimental program that if successful could eventually be expanded to include other panels.

Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and ranking member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told other members of the panel of plans to launch the pilot program last week.

Hatch and Leahy said the panel will use voice recognition technology, which they said has not yet been used in the Senate and is fairly new in the marketplace. Maverick Realtime Solutions Inc. has been hired to institute the pilot program.

Hatch and Leahy did not provide a timeline for the program, but noted, “Upon completion of the pilot project, a report will be published by the Secretary of the Senate on the feasibility and cost of providing closed captioning to all Senate committees.”


School to fight ruling that student should have CART

June 2007

Samantha Solorano, a deaf sophomore at Glendora High School, cried tears of joy after she and her family won a lawsuit against her school requiring it to provide her with a real-time transcription of her classes. Then, June 7, the school appealed. In court documents, the district called having a court reporter transcribe classes an “extreme solution” that could intimidate other students. Full Story


Speech to Text FAQs

November 2008

What is speech-to-text

Speech-to-text services deliver spoken information such as lectures, presentations, and classes as text on a computer screen in real time or as printed documents. Speech-to-text service is an appropriate accommodation for individuals who are comfortable receiving information via text.

Speech-to-text services often are used for students or others who do not use sign language interpreters or when course content has vocabulary more easily presented in print(e.g. foreign languages, medical courses).

What is the difference between CART, C-Print(r), and TypeWell(r)?

CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation), C-Print(r), and TypeWell(r) are different systems for delivering speech-to-text services.

Full Story


Speech to Text Considerations

November 2008

Learn about the different kinds of speech-to-text services available, their similarities and differences, legal aspects related to students’ rights to communication access, and more. Find out how to assess what services students may need, how remote speech-to-text works, and how to provide hard copy of classroom lectures.  Full Story


National Organization Promotes Speech to Text Services

November 2008

A national organization has been created to meet the growing needs of those providing and needing speech-to-text services. Meet STSN president Shannon Aylesworth and learn about how STSN can help you. Full Story


Comparison of Speech to Text Systems and Transcripts

November 2008

View a chart describing equipment, training, and verbosity (pages/hour) for four different types of Speech-to-Text Systems-CART, C-Print(r), TypeWell(tm), and Speech Recognition. See how one speech gets translated three different ways by viewing an excerpt prepared using verbatim and meaning-for-meaning speech-to-text systems. Which one could work for you?  Full Story


NCRA Captioning Guidelines

February 2010

The purpose of this publication is to serve as a reference source for recommended style and formatting guidelines for realtime captioners in the United States of America. The material found in this manual is the product of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Captioning Community of Interest (COI). The goal of this manual is to assist the independent realtime captioner by identifying and providing, through example, captioning style and formatting guidelines to create a more homogeneous product for the caption-viewing audiences in the United States. This manual will only address “realtime” broadcast captioners, both steno and voice, and does not apply to “offline” or “post-production” captioning. Although “realtime” and “offline” captioners do share many of the same concerns and style dilemmas, this manual will only address concerns specific to realtime captioning. For individuals interested in style and format recommendations for “offline” captioning, please refer to the Caption Key document created by the Captioned Media Program (CMP) of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) with funds for publication provided by the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.   Complete Guidelines

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