What is CART Captioning?

Many great and important things happen in real-time: the spectacle of a baseball game, the exchanging of ideas in a video conference, and the dissemination of knowledge via video lectures, just to name a few. To ensure that all these events are accessible to everyone, they need to be live captioned. Event planners will often discover a solution to this requirement called CART captioning.

Tell me more… what is CART Captioning?

CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation but can mean many different things. There’s even some dispute over the acronym (the U.S. Department of Justice, for example, refers to it as computer-assisted real-time transcription).

In general, though, CART is the method in which captioning professionals use technology to transcribe live audio into text that displays instantly for the benefit of deaf, hard-of-hearing, or non-native-speaking audiences.

CART captioning has long been the standard for live captioning events such as presentations, ceremonies, and lectures – and oftentimes the captioning professional will provide all the necessary equipment on-site so that viewers in attendance can access their live captions.

Can CART Captioning be Done Remotely?

While many people who host live events still prefer to use an on-site CART captioner to provide accessibility for deaf, hard-of-hearing, or non-native-speaking attendees, technology allows us to offer a remote CART experience, as well. In fact, thousands of live events are captioned remotely every day. Even companies with high security requirements are finding ways to receive confidential and encrypted CART captioning services using remote vendors like Captionmax.

In addition to reducing travel costs, remote CART captioning lowers the risk of technical issues arising during setup (as remote live captioners work from a dedicated, secure workstation) or of personal issues preventing someone from making it to the venue (if a remote CART captioner gets sick the morning of an event, we have a back-up ready to fill in). Remote CART captioning is also optimal for events with breakout sessions or marathon days because it’s much easier to coordinate multiple captioners when they are working from their own offices. As a result, the end user of live captions still receives the same personal captioning experience as they would with an on-site CART captioner.

An important distinction to make here is that, while all CART captioning is realtime captioning, not all realtime captioning is CART captioning. Live captioning of television broadcasts or internet video streams, for example, requires complex encoding processes and federal transmission guidelines that enable end users, no matter where they live or what device they’re using, to toggle realtime captions on or off. CART captioning, on the other hand, is typically reserved for unaired events in which event planners just need a captioner to provide accessibility for audience members who will be in attendance, not for anyone outside of it.

Of course, Captionmax can provide realtime services for all these captioning needs, including live translations to improve comprehension for non-native speakers. And while there will always be situations that call for on-site captioning, our remote, HTTPS-based CART solutions will no doubt continue to be an affordable, efficient, and reliable alternative to ensure that all live events remain accessible for everyone, everywhere.