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CART / Captioning

NVRA welcomes voice writers or stenographers who provide CART and broadcast captioning services and offers the professional certifications of Registered CART Provider - Master (RCP-M) and Registered Broadcast Captioner - Master (RBC-M).  Please see the Certification and Testing section for certification criteria and test dates.

What is CART?

Communication Access Realtime Translation, or CART, offers instantaneous transcription of the spoken word into English text through the use of speech-to-text software, a computer, and either an open or closed microphone or stenotype machine.  The text is then displayed on a computer monitor, large screen, or other display device for the individual or individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to read. 

This technology is primarily used by people who are deaf and persons with hearing loss, but it is also utilized by people with learning disabilities, with central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), and those for whom English is not their primary language.  CART services are provided to students in elementary through post-secondary classrooms and labs, in government and private industry workplaces, in public and private meetings, conferences and conventions, and many other venues.  CART transcripts may be viewed on laptop or tablet screens, monitors, or large room-size screens, either through direct connection to the CART provider or remote connections such as the Internet. 

The most important aspect to recognize is that CART provides equal access, allowing consumers to receive the same information as anyone else present, thus affording them the ability to interpret the meaning for themselves and permitting full interaction in any setting.  CART provides complete communication access by capturing the spoken word as well as any environmental sounds.  As a result, the consumer has the opportunity to fully participate.

What is broadcast captioning?

The main purpose of captioning is to provide equal access to television programming for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.  At this time though, captioning is also used in other ways, such as providing text for television programming in noisy venues like restaurants and bars, assisting individuals for whom English is their second language in understanding the broadcast, and reinforcing reading skills for children.  However, the original purpose of captioning remains to provide equal access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

An online or realtime broadcast captioner attempts to produce an accurate, readable text representation of what is spoken during a broadcast at the same time the program is occurring.  Specially trained voice writers and stenographic reporters are capable of performing the services that captioning companies typically provide.  In addition to television broadcasting, captioning companies provide realtime text for financial reporting conference calls, relay conference calls, conferences, and other events. 

Offline captioning is captioning that is encoded to a videotape before the program airs.  The offline (post-production) process is quite different from the realtime process, but may also be done by voice writers.