Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) is the process of translating spoken word into written text for persons who may be deaf, hard of hearing, learners of English as a second language, etc. This process is also known as realtime captioning (RTC) or simply, captioning. Closed captioning implies that the captions are embedded within the video signal and can be viewed only with a decoder (internal or external).

Captioning requires a skilled stenographer (typically a court reporter), stenotype machine, notebook computer and real-time software. Captions may be displayed on a small screen read only by a few people, displayed on a large screen for groups (i.e., conference settings), or broadcast on the Internet or via satellite. Captions appear almost instantaneously so there is very little lag time between the spoken message and the message being displayed.

A partial listing of private practice captioners and court reporting/captioning firms is available. Individuals and firms are listed alphabetically with their certifications and city or county of residence or business location. This does not indicate work proximities as many captioners expect and are willing to travel to a job site.

Captioning is not regulated by a specialty governing body. CART services providers generally get their start by developing court reporting skills. Certifications that are offered through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) include:

RPR: Registered Professional Reporter
CRR: Certified Real-time Reporter
CBC: Certified Broadcast Captioner
CCP: Certified CART Provider

The Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing strongly encourages you to secure the services of a professionally trained reporter/captioner. It is also recommended that you first consult with the Deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer for their preference if this is possible. A guideline for securing and hiring a CART provider is available.  

Last Revised: June 14, 2016