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Seven Tips for Locating, Screening CART Providers

Seven Tips for Locating, Screening CART Providers

Editor: 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. The article recently appeared in NVRC News. As always, we appreciate their permission to share their information with you. For additional information, please visit the NCRA Listing in our Resource Directory.


If you’re deaf or hard-of-hearing, you probably already know how CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) technology can help you fully participate in such activities as religious services, educational classes and seminars, or medical appointments. But do you know the best methods to find and screen CART providers? Below are seven tips from the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) to locate CART services and determine whether a CART provider is qualified to effectively and accurately perform realtime translation.

CART providers accompany people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to meetings, medical appointments, religious services, schools and many other events, and using a stenotype machine and a laptop, they instantly transcribe the spoken words into text that a person with hearing loss can read on a laptop computer. NCRA is the professional organization for CART providers and other reporting-based professions such as court reporting and broadcast captioning. Accordingly, NCRA has a vested interest in ensuring that there are enough CART providers to meet the growing demand and that those offering their services are qualified, capable and competent.

NCRA is currently developing a professional certification for CART providers that will set minimum standards for those who provide this critical service.


1. To find a CART provider in your area, check out “How to Locate a CART Provider” on NCRA’s Web site. You’ll find links to NCRA’s Professional Services Locator, which lists CART providers and includes their certifications, other credentials and areas of experience, and to the membership directory of CARTWheel, which is a voluntary association of CART providers committed to adhering to guidelines of quality service and who have been endorsed by deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers.

2. While you’re at the NCRA Web site, you can familiarize yourself with NCRA’s CART Provider’s Manual, which provides information on the professional skills expected of qualified CART providers, and review Sections III and IV of NCRA’s Guidelines for Professional Practice, which set out the ethical behavior expected of CART providers.

3. The Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) designation at this time is a requisite for the qualified CART provider. The RPR certifies the entry-level reporter’s ability to provide a verbatim record at speeds ranging from 180-225 words per minute with a minimum accuracy of 95 percent. NCRA also recommends that CART providers earn the Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) designation, in which a CART provider has proven his or her ability to write realtime at variable speeds ranging from 180-200 words per minute with a minimum accuracy of 96 percent.

4. A qualified CART provider must be able to provide a basic display. Make sure any CART provider you hire has a stenotype machine with realtime cable, a notebook computer, CAT/realtime software and text-enlarging software. In addition to technology, a qualified CART provider should also be able to furnish the small stuff, like an extension cord, a surge protector with an indicator light, a 3-prong or 2-prong ground cord adapter, additional realtime cable and disks.

5. If you want projection capabilities beyond a laptop screen (i.e., multiple monitors, projection screen, L.E.D. message board), make sure the CART provider is willing to test for hardware and software compatibility, and make arrangements to do so.

6. Arrange all payment details in advance, and be sure any quote includes hourly fees, equipment fees and charges for each rough-edit disk. A qualified CART provider will be upfront about all charges.

7. Always ask for references. A qualified CART provider will always share this information and will be eager to put you in touch with others who can sing his or her praises!

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