Captioning and Computer Assisted Real Time Transcription (CART)

Posted on June 30, 2009 in Advocacy, Tips for Communication | Short Link
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Have you ever watched a television show or been at a seminar and you just missed some of the words? Hard of hearing individuals often mishear information on a daily basis. Don’t you wish there was a way to support hearing in noisy environments so that you didn’t miss the message – or the comedic tag line that everyone else is laughing at? Then you should become familiar with captioning and Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services.


If you have ever seen words on the bottom of your television screen then you have seen one type of video captioning called closed captioning. While the public may be somewhat accustomed to seeing televised captioning – one may not know that anyone can get this closed captioning on their television as a result of the 1993 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The challenge – though simple – is that people need to learn how to program their television to turn the captions on. This type of captioning allows people to understand more of the television show by reading what is being said. Another type of video captioning is called open captioning. This term means that the captions would always show regardless of the television settings. Open captioning is often used when people view a foreign film. For more information on captioning please check out the following site.

Computer Assisted Real Time Transcription (CART)

CART, or real time captioning, is a way to bring real time words to a text format. Say for example, that someone who is hard of hearing plans to attend a seminar in town in a large room. They know they will not be able to hear everything that is said. If CART services are provided it would make it easier for persons who are hard of hearing to more successfully gain an understanding of the discussion.

A person who is hard of hearing can request from the seminar provider that CART services be available to them as a means of reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). It is then the responsibility of the individuals who are providing the seminar to obtain the CART service. You will notice that when you attend a seminar where CART services are provided, that many people in the general audience are seen reading the CART screen. On conference evaluations, participants often write that the CART at the front of the room was a fantastic added benefit!

Because CART services are not required as a regular set up of public assistance, finding a provider for the CART services becomes a challenge. Therefore, it is suggested that people who request these services be ready to share a local contact for the individuals organizing the seminar to contact. Agencies that provide CART need advance warning to find a court reporter so you should be sure to ask for the accommodation even when registering for the seminar. CART services can be requested as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. You can find more information about CART at the Pennsylvania state registry for CART services here. Although the list is not exhaustive, it is a starting point for CART or real time captioning assistance.

If you would like to learn more about this topic or if you have resources to offer, please contact us.

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