Broadcast captioners, also called stenocaptioners, use court reporter skills on the stenotype machine to provide captions of live television programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers, through realtime technology that instantly produces readable English text. Stenocaptioners work for local stations and for national channels and networks captioning news, emergency broadcasts, sports events and other programming.
The federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 has some very specific mandates for closed captioning of local programs around the country with phase-in dates in 2002, 2004 and 2006. What this means for the reporting community is an enormous increase in the demand for realtime captioners to cover local news broadcasts all around the country, mornings, afternoons and evenings.
Captioning is an evolving and maturing profession, and the available technology associated with captioning is rapidly advancing. Consequently, the information and guidelines listed here will be updated from time to time.
What is CART?
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is the instant translation of the spoken word into English text using a stenotype machine, computer, and realtime software. The text appears on a computer monitor or other display. This technology is primarily used by people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing or who are learning English as a Second Language.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically recognized CART as an assistive technology which affords "effective communication access." Communication access more aptly describes a CART captioner’s role and distinguishes CART from realtime reporting in a traditional litigation setting.
CART and Broadcast Captioners Code of Professional Ethics
The mandatory Code of Professional Ethics defines the ethical relationship the public has a right to expect from a Member. The Code sets out the conduct of the Member when dealing with the Consumer and/or Client of CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) and broadcast captioning services and acquaints the Consumer and/or Client, as well as the Member, with guidelines established for professional behavior.
Recommended style and format guidelines
NCRA provides guidance for independent realtime captioners on a multitude of style and formatting issues, including parentheticals, obscenities and other sensitive words, scripting, musical notes and lyrics, slang and poor grammar, and much more. The guidelines are meant to complement the guidelines that some captioning companies require their captioners to follow. The Community of Interest notes that when captioning companies have guidelines in place for their captioners, the captioning company guidelines take precedence. Download guidelines
How to complain about bad or missing captions
With the change to high definition broadcasts in 2009 and changes to the Federal Communications Commission’s complaint procedure in early 2010, it is a good time to review the process for complaining about caption quality. Read the complete story
Are you looking for a tool to help explain CART to potential consumers or to those who will decide whether or not the service will be provided? If so, NCRA’s CART marketing brochure, might be just the thing you’re looking for. The brochure offers a brief definition of CART, the many environments where it can prove effective, the benefits of utilizing this communication access service, and where to go for more information.