Communication Access Realtime Translation:  CART Services for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People 

Developed by the University of Washington.  Author, Rob Roth; AccessComputing staff

What is CART?

CART Captioning (Communication Access Realtime Translation), sometimes called realtime captioning, is a live speech-to-text captioning service.  CART is most widely used to provide access to spoken information to persons with hearing loss.  Many others find benefit as well, including those using English as a second language and a spectrum of people with disabilities.  CART is also well suited to quiet environments, providing everyone access to what's being said without sound.  CART is utilized by speakers, presenters, organizations, and institutions concerned with ensuring accessibility to those using captioning to understand and participate, and for those wishing to reach the widest audience of students, customers, and constituents.  

How is CART provided?

CART captioning is generally provided by specially trained stenographers.  Instead of a computer keyboard, a court reporting or steno machine is used, which is linked to a laptop computer.  Specialized software on the computer instantaneously translates the steno keystrokes into readable English text.  The software maintains a customized steno "dictionary" which is updated by the captioner as new vocabulary is encountered.  The CART captioner works onsite or remotely and transcribes all that is heard.  The captions are displayed on a screen in real time, and the CART consumer reads along.  can be displayed in different formats can appear as a full screen of text and scroll up from the bottom.  CART captions are close to verbatim and should reflect full contextual accuracy of the spoken word.  

Does CART produce a transcript?

Upon completion of a CART session, the captioned text may be stored electronically, and the resulting CART e-files are often furnished to our clients.  These e-transcripts are valuable as study notes, to help in creating minutes or update members not in attendance, and to archive for later use.   

How is CART captioning different from court reporting?

The focus of CART and broadcast captioning is equal access to communication in the present moment.  Captioners use their skills to provide highly accurate and complete realtime translation of the spoken word so persons with hearing loss receive the same information as those who hear.  Thus, unlike court reporting, the emphasis is not on the resulting transcript perfected after the fact, but on the precise rendering of speech into text to be viewed right here, right now.  Captioners also note environmental cues and sounds, must be adept at skills like fingerspelling and properly punctuating on the fly, need a current knowledge and sensitivity about working with persons who are deaf and hard of hearing, etc.   According to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Guidelines for CART Captioners, an entry-level CART captioner should have a realtime total accuracy rate of at least 98%, with a goal of 99% and above.   

Are you hiring?

Total Recall is always on the lookout for excellent CART and broadcast captioners to join our esteemed team.  Please contact us for further information.  

Does Total Recall train CART captioners?

Are you a court reporter thinking about transitioning or a high-speed student interested in CART captioning?  Total Recall will train proficient realtime stenowriters to work with us.  Work sample will be evaluated before acceptance into our train-to-work program.  Minimum speed required for students is Qualifier level.  Please contact us for more information.


NCRA Guidelines for CART Captioners:

NCRA Broadcast Captioning Guidelines:

NCRA Code of Professional Ethics:

NCRA CART Consumer Bill of Rights: - Captioning Matters is a comprehensive site that was created and is maintained by the NCRA to promote the value of broadcast captioning and CART captioning, and to engage consumers, organizations, and

Resource page includes FCC Guidelines, articles, a list of deaf and hard-of-hearing organizations, helpful data, links to emergency information, etc.:



CCRA is working hard to promote and protect CART and Broadcast captioning, and has added CART and Broadcast captioners to their membership and bylaws.



California Court Reporters Association (CCRA)

National Court Reporters Association (NCRA)

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)

Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA)

National Association of the Deaf (NAD)

California Association of the Deaf (CAD)

Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness

Norcal Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing