CART Resource List

Communications Access Realtime Translation for People who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), is the instantaneous translation of spoken word into text. A CART writer uses a stenotype machine, notebook computer and realtime software to provide this translation. The text appears on a computer monitor or is projected onto a screen or display so the person with hearing loss can read along as much as he she needs to have access to what is spoken.

CART is specifically recognized as an assistive technology under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is used to provide communications access for individuals with hearing loss in schools, on the job, at conferences and in other settings. In many situations, CART has come closest to “equalizing” the field for individuals with hearing loss in the workplace and at school. It is not a coincidence that more individuals with hearing loss have succeeded at the highest academic levels since CART became available.

How Does CART Happen?

CART writers use a phonetic language, called STENO. Using the stenotype keyboard’s 22 keys and a number bar, they learn unique combinations of letters to represent sounds or phonemes. Multiple keys are pressed at the same time, much like playing chords on a piano, to represent certain phonemes. When an outline is written on the keyboard, it passes via cable to a computer for processing. This processing can be referred to as “translation” because it takes the phonetic outlines written by the reporter and translates them into English words using a special dictionary created by the reporter. This dictionary contains word parts, whole words, phrases, names, punctuation, and special entries unique to the topic under discussion used by the reporter during a realtime session.

Locating a CART Provider

National Resources

State Resources

CART in the News

AG Bell has supported two precedent-setting legal cases that have paved the way for greater access to CART in the classroom for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. In two groundbreaking cases that involved students at the K-12 level and in post-secondary education, the courts ruled that public schools must give requests for CART by students who are deaf or hard of hearing primary consideration as an auxiliary aid when needed to provide equal and effective communication access. These cases should have a widespread impact on accessibility for students with hearing loss seeking CART interpreting in secondary and higher education.

Learn more about these cases: