How It Works

What is CART?

CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation.  It is a speech-to-text captioning service that benefits people who are late-deafened, hard of hearing, culturally Deaf, who have cochlear implants, and those learning English as a second language.   It is used by speakers, presenters, organizations or institutions concerned with ensuring they provide accessibility to their material to the widest audience and those that are use captioning service to understand and participate in meetings and lectures.  A secondary use for captioning is for executives, and those interested in Search Engine Optimization.
CART is also referred to as realtime captioning.

Where is captioning used? 

Realtime captioning is used in educational institutions, lectures, at meetings, for telephone conferences, webinars and conventions.  The service is typically used by individuals who are hearing impaired and those learning English as a second language, although there is an emerging market among executives who may be receiving their communication in an environment not receptive to audio.  The captions are relayed onto a screen, often a projector, a laptop or a smart phone.

Other forms of captioning do not require immediate transcription, such as web videos and YouTube videos.

How does it work?

Our captioners receive an audio feed or sit live in a presentation.  They use a stenograph machine (a machine which is used to type shorthand) and cutting-edge software.  The phonetic shorthand is translated instantaneously into English through the use of software.  CART can be certified to type up to 260 words per minute with 98% accuracy and above.

We stream text to a variety of devices.  If A La CARTe is onsite, the real-time text can be viewed on a laptop. The text can be projected onto a screen as well. Another display option is an LED board, which can display up to three lines of text and is supported by a large tripod. The streaming text can also be viewed on many smart phones or on the web. A La CARTe Connection will provide the consumer an email with a link to view the streaming text. There are many programs that can be used, but the consumer requires no special software to view the text.

Captions can be captured and relayed remotely.  The  CART can be used very effectively remotely. The speaker or presenter would need a wireless microphone, an internet connection and a computer. The speaker wears the wireless microphone, which allows CART to hear everything that is said. The captioner uses the same stenograph machine to capture the text. The text is then streamed from A La CARTe’s computer through the internet and through the wireless receiver is displayed on the consumer’s computer screen.

Can I have a demonstration?

A La CARTe Connection would be delighted to provide a demonstration. Just contact Jana to set up a demonstration.

What do I need to get started with CART?

If you are interested in the remote CART service, you need an audio source for A La CARTe Connection, which could be voice over IP (VoIP), which requires a wireless microphone or a telephone line. You also need to have an internet connection and computer or smartphone. If you are looking for onsite CART, A La CARTe Connection may be able to provide all of the equipment needed. If you want it projected onto a big screen, it would require a projector and a screen.

How much does this service cost?

The costs of CART services range from $60/hour up to $200/hour, depending on many different factors, such as output method, equipment involved, the type of event, the experience of A La CARTe Connection, and whether the service is onsite or remote.

Who pays for this?

There are several laws related to CART and the requirements to provide it. The venue you are interested in will determine which law would be applicable and who is responsible for the payment of the service. The laws that deal directly with communication access include: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA, IDEA amendments of 1997, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

(Click here to see a summary of the laws applicable to CART)

Do I get an electronic copy of the transcription at the end?

A La CARTe Connection has the capability to provide you with a copy of the streaming text. The decision to provide a transcript depends on its use and effectiveness and should be decided in advance. We can help you decide whether getting a transcript is right for you.

Do I own the copy of the transcript?

The party who hires A La CARTe Connection to provide services owns the transcript. The transcript should not be disseminated or distributed without the consent of the hiring party.

What happens if I do not provide CART? Am I violating any law?

Not providing equal communication access could be a violation of the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and IDEA.  Only your attorney can inform you whether not providing CART services is a violation of the law.

Are there any government grants to cover these expenses?

Under the ADA, Rehabilitation Act and the IDEA, the cost of the service is to be covered by the entity that is putting on the event where CART is being provided, unless they can show that the expense of providing the service would be an undue burden.

Why can’t we just provide ASL interpreters for everyone?

Only a small percentage of those who are deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing communicate through American Sign Language. Providing CART services can help overcome this barrier.

ASL is a form of language, and many people who communicate through ASL may not have the reading comprehension or speed necessary to utilize CART. However, many individuals who are deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing, especially late-deafened adults and those who lost their hearing after learning speech, read lips and rely solely on CART and captioning in group settings. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution when dealing with communication access. Consumers need access to the accommodation that best meets their individual needs.

What is the difference between CART and captioning?

“CART” and “captioning” are often used interchangeably. CART is a text-only translation of speech that is displayed on a computer screen, LED board, large screen. Captioning is text displayed in conjunction with a video image and requires an encoder or character generator as well as captioning software on the provider’s computer.

What is the difference between open captioning and closed-captioning?

CART is “open captioning,” which is text that can be seen by everybody. Closed-captioning must be “turned on” before it can be seen.


Benefits of CARTe
  • Equal access
  • Complete communication access
  • Flexibility
  • Independent learning/understanding
  • Increased learning potential
  • Full participation
  • Choice of notetaking options
Learn More
  • Accessibility
  • CART/Captioning
  • Turnkey Solutions
  • eLearning/Classroom
  • Meetings
  • Events
  • Executive Support
  • Employee Support
  • Webinars
  • Media Conversion
  • Time Coding
  • Web Captioning