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E-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing People.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)

Among the communication options for deaf and hard of hearing people is a fast growing service called CART, a method of Speech–to–Text translation. The term ‘CART’ is an acronym for Communication Access Realtime Translation or Computer Aided Real–Time Captioning (both titles describe the same service).

Using stenographic machines and computer software, CART providers translate the spoken word into the written word nearly as fast as people can talk, hence the “realtime” tag. Text is displayed on a laptop computer, monitor, or large screen, depending on the situation. CART results in a verbatim (word–for–word) text of all spoken content. A related service, computer–assisted note taking (CAN), produces a briefer summary that may not be as complete as a CART transcript.

How Does It Work?

A CART specialist sets up a stenographic machine and a laptop computer at an event attended by deaf and hard of hearing people. The CART specialist listens to what is said, and transcribes every word so that it can be viewed on the computer screen almost as soon as it is spoken. CART specialists can move from room to room, or event to event, and operate in almost any situation. The captions are projected onto screens appropriate to the audience size and location, as well as over the Internet and via satellite. The text displayed includes (whenever possible) identification of the speaker, dialogue, and a description of sounds. The process is so fast that it enables deaf and hard of hearing consumers to become active participants in classes, workshops, and conferences.

One practitioner’s assessment sums it up:
“CART is fast becoming one of the most requested services for late–deafened adults and individuals with little or no sign language acquisition, and it has gained acceptance with and become a preference for many Deaf individuals in schools and workplace settings. An added benefit of this service is the detailed verbatim record created with the additional legacy of a text file that may be received at the conclusion of the class, lecture or meeting, depending upon the policy of the CART provider and institution.”

Locating CART Providers

CART services can be located in various ways, although there remains a shortage of skilled providers. Some state and local agencies who serve people with hearing loss can make referrals (See Agencies), or contact national organizations whose members include many of the best CART providers.

To Locate Michigan CART Providers

BARealtime, Ltd.
 (new to Grand Rapids area)

   P.O. Box 3317
   Grand Rapids, MI 49501
   (616) 913-0888 (Office)
   (616) 913-0890 (Fax)

Michigan Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing

   (877) 499–6232
   (517) 335–6004 (V/TTY)
   (517) 335–7773 (Fax)
   VP: 866-939-3853 or IP: DODHH.NET


   Sue Deer Hall, Owner
   2480 E. Strange Hwy
   Grand Ledge, MI 48837
   517-627-2500 V/TTY/FAX

To Locate National CART Providers

National Court Reporters Association (NCRA)

   8224 Old Courthouse Road
   Vienna, Virginia 22182–3808
   (800) 272–6272 (NCRA — Toll Free)
   (703) 556–6272

   NCRA’s Professional Services Locator is at:


CARTWheel is a volunteer network of individuals who meet the following criteria, and who have been endorsed by a member of CARTWheel and a user of his or her realtime services. CARTWheel can be reached at


  • Each member has Deaf, deaf and Hard of Hearing sensitivity and knowledge of sign language.
  • CARTWheel members are Professional Court Reporters sharing on–site and or remote verbatim skills for any situation where language is spoken.
  • Members are NOT translators, summarizing speech. Members are Court Reporters, delivering state–of–the–art skills and 99–percent–plus translations.

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