What does CART stand for? Is it the same as captioning?

Communication Access Real-time Translation is the real-time display of verbatim speech to text, accomplished by a stenographer writing on a steno machine at MINIMUM speeds of 180 words per minute (wpm) on formal, public-speech material (one voice) and MINIMUM 225 wpm on two-voice dialogue material. CART is usually text-only display, not text embedded into a video, which is technically Captioning. Text (often delivered via modem) that is encoded in Line 21 of a television display is called Broadcast Captioning. CART can also be provided by a real-time voice-writer (same speed requirements).

What hardware/equipment is needed to study CART?

You need a steno-writing machine with real-time cable or Bluetooth connection to a computer, and steno-to-English computer-aided translation (CAT) software. Student versions of software are available for students in recognized schools, often less expensive than professional versions. There are many writing machines available from vendors such as Stenograph, Advantage Software, ProCAT, and Stenovations. Your computer will need adequate RAM for optimal performance of the translation software. Consult the specifications for your writing machine and CAT software.

What software/computer knowledge is needed for CART or Captioning?

To be a successful CART provider, one needs to know how to navigate Windows, word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail, and steno-translation software programs; how to use the Internet to research names/spellings, which sites to rely on; basic computer care, backups, file organization. Thereafter, one can learn as one goes, on the job and via continuing education seminars.

Who uses CART or Captioning?

People who have hearing loss rely on CART and captioning to know what’s happening. People who were born deaf and grew up with sign language may be more comfortable with sign language. People who have cognitive impairments or learning disabilities, or people who are learning English as a second language can also benefit from CART. People who once were deaf or hard of hearing but now hear with cochlear implants will use CART to confirm what they’re hearing, especially over the telephone where there may be no visual cues. Sounds that travel into a cochlear implant need processing time in the brain and an adjustment period that varies for every individual.

Will this be a field in demand for the foreseeable future?

Yes. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Instant speech-to-text is what many people need and want for equal communication access. Automatic speech-to-text software cannot match the accuracy and discernment of the human brain. Advances in technology now allow CART captioners to provide the service remotely, making it possible to provide CART captioning in rural areas, in sensitive environments, or in areas where there are too few or no CART captioners.

How long does the CART course take?

It depends on your English ability, practice discipline, and motor coordination. Some students, especially those with musical backgrounds, naturally build shorthand speed and can finish a program in less than two years. Others require practice and discipline that could take several years. Most court reporting programs require that you complete transcription of three 5-minute dictations at speeds of 180, 200, and 225 words per minute with 95 percent accuracy in order to graduate. Transitioning from stenography training to CART captioning will require training and interning with a seasoned CART captioner and perhaps some time working in the litigation field to acquire real-world experience.

How much does the CART course cost?

Visit NCRA’s list of approved schools at NCRA Schools and Programs. Research the websites of various court reporting and captioning training programs to compare cost.

Do you have to be certified as a CART Provider in order to work?

States have different certification requirements for court reporters and CART captioners. The State of Florida does not require certification, yet many firms will ask that applicants a certification, whether it be the RPR, CRC, or CRR certification administered by NCRA.
NCRA Certification Test Center

Do you have to be certified as a CART Provider in order to work?
States have different certification requirements for court reporters and CART captioners. The State of Florida does not require certification, yet many firms will ask that applicants a certification, whether it be the RPR, CRC, or CRR certification administered by NCRA.
NCRA Certification Test Center

Can/should I work as a CART Provider while still a CART student?

No. It will train your brain to write in a way (sloppily, or dropping text) that may hinder you from completing your stenography course, which requires strict verbatim takedown. It will also be a disservice to the consumer who is relying on CART captioning for communication. It could be a point of liability for the firm or institution that hires you. Interning with a CART captioner will give you the exposure and training to make a smooth transition into the field.

How much does CART Certification cost?

For information on certification, visit the NCRA Certification Test Center

How flexible would my hours be as a CART Provider?

In an academic setting, your hours will range depending on the classes your students are taking. You may be providing services in the morning, afternoon, and/or in the evening. Keep in mind that you will need to spend time quickly editing your transcripts for clarity and dictionary development before sending to your academic consumers.

CART captioning for conventions and group meetings can be weeklong stretches or evening hours. You may be providing the service to one consumer via laptop,or projecting onto a screen that is viewable to the entire audience.

What about C-Print, CAN, and Typewell as alternatives to CART?

CAN stands for computer-aided notetaking, essentially typing notes on a laptop. Notetaking is usually done by a fellow student for a person who uses sign language and can’t look away from the interpreter to write notes.

C-Print and TypeWellare word-expansion programs that are like speedwriting on a laptop keyboard. The typist is linked wirelessly to a second laptop or mobile device which displays text for the recipient and provides summary notes. This form of summary notetaking is preferred by some sign language users who do not want the verbatim transcript produced by CART providers.

How do I meet other CART providers and captioners and network with them?

The best way to network is to join your state association as a student or reporter and the National Court Reporters Association, both of which offer seminars, on-line forums, and socials which put you in touch with fellow professionals. You may also receive information through online forums and association journals. www.NCRA.org

What other certifications should I pursue?

In addition to the RPR, CRC, and CRR, NCRA offers the prestigious RMR and RDR reporter designations. Additionally, NCRA offers a Realtime Systems Administrator certificate program that provides technology training.

What equipment do I need to provide Remote CART?

You’ll need a backup computer, a stable (wired, preferably) broadband internet connection, a good speakerphone with headset, free long distance calling, a call-to-phones plan on Skype or other VoIP, and certain display software that your employer will set you up with. You’ll need a quiet and comfortable place to work, as well, and a sign for your door that says: “Quiet, I’m on the air!”

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