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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Accommodation for Hard of Hearing Individuals: Communication Access Realtime Translation

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is a word-for-word speech-to-text captioning accommodation for hard of hearing (HoH) individuals who are not fluent in sign language but who still need communication access. Unlike computerized note-taking or abbreviation systems, which summarize information for consumers, CART provides a complete translation of all spoken words and environmental sounds, empowering the HoH consumers to decide for themselves what information is important to them.

For individuals who have lost their hearing postlingually or suffer a significant hearing loss as an adult, being able to learn sign language to the degree of fluency needed to make use of a sign language interpreter is often extremely time consuming and difficult.  However, being hard of hearing in the work place does not mean having to lose out just because one cannot take advantage of having interpreters for the every day business we all need to attend to.  For situations where inclusion in staff meetings, working groups, trainings and other professional meetings (attendance at professional conferences for example) are part of an employee’s duties and responsibilities, the Interpreting Services Program Office can provide CART services.

It is important to note that a CART provider's role is to facilitate communication. The CART provider will, at all times, stay in role and perform in a manner appropriate to the situation – and like interpreters will keep all assignment related information confidential.

If you should ever find yourself in a situation where a CART provider is present please be mindful of the following:

  • Speak directly to the deaf/or hard-of-hearing participant. Do not speak through the CART provider. If an answer is required, pause to enable the consumer to read the question on the CART screen so he or she can respond.
  • Only one person should speak at a time.
  • Provide sufficient breaks for the CART provider.
  • Be alert to the fact that the CART provider acts as the “ears” of the consumer. Any whispers, utterances or laughter overheard by the CART provider will be displayed for the consumer.

If you would care to find out more information about CART you can visit the National Court Reporters Foundation sponsored website at http://www.cart-info.org/.