A few weeks ago I did a campus visit at the college I’ll be attending. While I was there, I got the chance to try out a real time captioning program called CART.
CART, also known as “Communication Access Realtime Translation”, is a captioning service that hard-of-hearing or deaf students can use in place of a sign language interpreter in the classroom.
How CART works
Basically, the school hires a captioner to sit in the classroom with you, transcribing what is being said in the classroom and who said it.
I sat next to my captioner, but she told me that I can sit far away from the captioner if I want and have the transcription streamed to my personal computer.
Captions aren’t always 100% accurate in the beginning, but the entire transcription is sent to editors, and in 24 hours they send an updated, more accurate transcript to use as a reference.
My experience with CART
When I walked into the auditorium, the CART provider had set up a computer that I could read from, and a steno machine that she typed on:
The CART folks type fast. I thought they did a great job of keeping up with the pace of the presentation.
The computer where the transcript appeared told me the names of the people speaking. I was also told that the providers get a list of vocabulary if they are working in a classroom setting. (You wont have to worry about them misspelling a vocab word, they’ll already know about it.)
I really enjoyed the experience. I’ve never been able to keep up with people at assemblies and large class discussions. CART will definitely help me with that.
But, I do have some issues with it.
For one, the transcript screen is slightly obnoxious- I don’t like to bring a lot of attention to myself, so it’s a little embarrassing to have a bright screen on in a dark auditorium.
It also requires some multitasking. Taking notes and reading the captions can be problematic when doing so quickly at the same time.
Overall, I recommend using CART. Find out if it’s offered by your school and try it out! It’s not for everyone, and some may prefer a sign language interpreter instead.
If your school doesn’t offer it, talk to the disability services coordinator or dean, who may be able to set up this service for you.