CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation)

Like sign language interpreting, CART is used with consumers who have a hearing loss (D/deaf, hard of hearing). This provides equal access to communication.  It uses the same equipment used in court reporting and closed captioning for your television.  Simply, it could be considered closed captioning in real time.  Check out the video below to see how it works.

CART sign language intepretingWhen should CART be used?

CART works well when used by itself but also in conjunction with sign language interpreting services.  It is often used in a classroom environment (as shown in the attached video). It also can be helpful in larger venues like conferences.   For example, at a conference the speakers tends to be far away from the audience. They walk around the room while speaking.  Reading the speakers lips, hearing them when their back is turned, or hearing questions from the audience is impossible.  This would be difficult to follow even if you had a slight hearing loss.

What does the Writer do?

The CART Writer types a shorthand of the English into a stenotype (court reporting typewriter) that is connected to a laptop/tablet. It has specialized programming.  The English version is then projected onto a screen.  At a conference, it’s usually the same screen where the PowerPoint is projected.  This allows the person with the hearing loss to follow along with the speaker and the PowerPoint at the same time.  The translation is verbatim what the speaker is saying.  It will also specify when someone other than the speaker is speaking.

Should I use CART?

It’s important to understand not every D/deaf person uses English as their first language, and CART may not be suitable for everyone. It should be treated just like any other equal access accommodation.  You may think it will work best for your specific needs. If so, discuss it with the D/deaf consumer and see if it is a good match.


This video is a great description of CART:




Photo Credit:


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