Why Captioning & CART Universally? Option for Deaf, Vital for Deafened & People with Hearing Loss

June 21, 2011 § 5 Comments

CCAC values collaboration in good ways that “build bridges” among all individuals and groups who need communication access. Our sole focus is advocacy for captioning inclusion universally. There are several other groups to educate and advocate for sign language and for other resources. CCAC uses the word “collaborative” in it’s name – an invitation to all with overlapping interests to join us.

Accurate and timely (“real time”) speech-to-text translation is a powerful and effective way to communicate for millions of people. Captioning is an option for some, and a necessity for millions of others. Perhaps “captioning” has not been a powerful word, until now! 

CCAC does not say that captioning is the only communication choice, nor that it replaces anyone’s other languages. We welcome all who support the CCAC mission which is to advocate for more inclusion of captioning universally, and to have it always an option for those who do require it for inclusion, participation, and giving back to society too.

In brief, inclusion of captioning universally, serves millions who are deaf, deafened, and have a hearing loss, as well as benefiting millions of others who are learning to read (for literacy), need translations from other languages, or have important different learning or business needs. Captioning inclusion is not only the goal for entertainments (movies, theaters, television, Internet broadcasting, and sports arenas), it is the goal for all public events and much more.

CCAC recognizes and validates the need for sign language also, and applauds (and learns from) advocacy efforts by other groups. CCAC was created because so many deaf, deafened, and people with hearing loss do not even know they can request captioning and have that right under law where needed for effective communication. CCAC was created because captioning is still lacking in so many places of everyday life, and CCAC argues that it is past time for more understanding and support of captioning, a language (or translation) that is vital for many.

For the above reasons, it’s time to outline why captioning and CART are beneficial for so many, and share the following thoughts from sign language users, and also from Deaf members of the CCAC. From CCAC members’ themselves (paraphrased and anonymous quotes):

Person 1: “For years I used sign language interpreters, and they are still my backup when all else fails. But I didn’t always get interpreters that provided the full flavor or details of what was said, particularly when I was with another deaf individual who used ASL….it was often challenging and mentally taxing…I began to realize that I craved access to the full conversation, word for word.

With CART, I was also able to express my own points of view for others, in a language all could understand, especially important for complex policies and important agency work that needed to move forward.”

Person 2: :”In school, when there is any detailed intellectual or mathematical discussions or teaching, I must have CART – to follow, to ask questions, and to have the transcript as a needed resource.”

Person 3: “For important meetings, especially with lots of numbers, finances, and the like, I need CART, no question about it.”

Person 4: “Without CART, I am wiped out trying to pay full attention, even with an ASL interpreter. It’s not a healthy situation for me.” 

Person 5: “Captionfish is a service that is loved by my Deaf friends. To know where and when we can go out, and enjoy a movie with friends, like others, is fantastic.”

CCAC says: Whether our first language is English or ASL (or your language in other countries, or sign language in other countries), we want to advocate together for more inclusion of quality captioning.

CART is real time full verbatim speech-to-text translation, called by various names – real time captioning is a good shorthand. Traditionally, it stands for Communication Access Real time Translation, and also Computer Assisted Real time Transcription. In some countries, it’s called interpretating as well. 

In sum, for many, captioning is actually a primary (receptive) language – another required format for one’s first language. It’s required for communication, bringing us back to life, reducing strain and exhaustion. For others, it’s another language that benefits them in some situations, not all, since using sign language is preferred for many good reasons in some other situations (e.g. video relay call with a friend). For Deaf friends, inclusion of captioning and being able to use CART is valuable also, as described above, even though sign language is primary.

May good collaborations continue! We have a lot to share and to learn from each other.


§ 5 Responses to Why Captioning & CART Universally? Option for Deaf, Vital for Deafened & People with Hearing Loss

  • Dayette J. Zampolin, RMR, CRR, CCP says:

    Thank you so much for your explanation. I do not think consumers today are aware of the different methods of speech-to-text. I believe that there should be standards promulgated, so everyone knows exactaly what is available and what they are able to acquire for their payments.

    • ls says:

      Thanks for your early comment Dayette. It’s a challenge to explain all the different sorts of captioning, and at the same time, it’s not all that complicated really. Please see some of the other blog posts here, and especially, the many pages on the CCAC website (e.g. Articles and Resources on http://www.ccacaptioning.org).

      The word “CART” itself is still unknown to many, and there are confusions between when to ask for CART and when to ask for captioning.

      CART is real time speech to text in any situation where someone needs it, provided by the professional CART person, on site or remotely, who is translating every word spoken into text to read (on a computer screen, or projected onto a larger screen for all to read). Captioning is when there is an “image” or picture also, at the same time, for examples, a real time performance, sports on television in noisy places, business presentations, movies, videos, and other situations where the person(s) speaking are projected onto a screen for all to see the images along with the speakers.

      At times, it’s both! Graduation ceremonies for large audiences have a CART professional there to create speech-to-text, and the speaker is also often on a large screen, with captioning running below the image. Then there is theater captioning – a wonderful inclusive use of pre-entered text, along with a trained theater captioner during the performance to monitor it and make adjustments when needed. Just to mention one more thing – captioning for live news, emergency news, even on television,, is still lacking in so many areas. And as you mention, “standards” are very important – we want regular and top quality – no garbled letters, no missing text just where it’s most important to be able to understand what is being said.

  • Norma says:

    Thank you for this lovely post. Apropos to your comment about the word (acronym) CART not being known or understood, I had to laugh: I applied to the Sect. of State for my business name, CART in VT. It was denied, because it could be confused with another name, “Carts of Vermont,” which is a company that makes those carts that they sell hot dogs and sandwiches from on the open-air marketplace. Trying to explain to them that it was an acronym for a service was like talking to a brick wall. Not happening. Oy.

    • ls says:

      Hi Norma and all reading – feedback for me/us is really good too :-), thanks. For some of us, though perhaps not for traditionalists or associations and professionals who have invested a lot in the word “CART” — the shorthand version – real time captioning – covers a lot of the territory. On the other hand, we try to use both Captioning and CART still.
      And yes (!), if you google CART, not much luck finding what it means, even after these many years (unless you add “deaf” and even then, it’s needed for many others too….

  • Norma says:

    I agree. It’s much easier for the man and woman on the street, so to speak, to relate to “captioning,” and so I often do “shorthand” it to that description.

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