Communications Access Realtime Translation (Captioning)

Real Time Captioning (CART)

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 letter 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.

More on this and related topics

The Case for Captioning

April 2013

It is not only the millions and millions of people with hearing loss and deafness who need captioning to understand conversations, videos, lectures, meetings, theater, and other speaking events (Arch Intern Med 2011;171[20]:1851-1853), but also the millions more who use captioning for language learning, translation, and other good reasons. The captioning of speech and sounds in real time is not always provided, even when it is vital for human communication. Hearing aids, implants, and other devices are not a substitute for quality captioning in many situations, such as three or more people conversing, videos on the Internet, complex studies in education, business meetings, several varieties of entertainment, and more. There have been improvements in the number of professionals offering real-time captioning and in the development of new systems for creating captioning with voice-trained devices. Why captioning still is not viewed as a vital accessibility item and is missing from lists of resources is a mystery.

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.