A Checklist for CART Captioners

By Gayl Hardeman

Are you ready to work as a CART (communication access realtime translation) captioner? Here are some of the skills you need to function effectively in this environment.

A checklist for CART captioners






Write realtime at 99 percent accuracy on 180 wpm literary (minimum)



Have no conflicts



Have prefixes and suffixes defined in main dictionary



Can quickly spell out words not in dictionary



Can paraphrase in realtime



Know the differences among deaf, late-deaf, and hard-of-hearing consumers’ needs; have great respect for sign language interpreters and know we do not take their place but, rather, work with them



Know the common acronyms and lingo of the Americans with Disabilities Act, human services, ear anatomy, and communication devices



Know at least some conversational sign language, like Thank you, Fine, OK, My name is, break, bathroom, teacher, student, class, email, disk, Can you read this?, and how, where, when, why, who, what?



Know the ethics governing CART captioners respecting the confidentiality of the consumer’s business and whereabouts; know how to be an interpreter and not a participant



Have text-enlargement software and a separate CART computer directory with fewer characters per line so that when the text is enlarged and scroll lock is hit, the text remains on the screen and doesn’t roll off



Have the phonetics table modified to your writing style and invoked so that the consumer can read English rather than steno; keep the steno keys adjusted so that what you hit is what you get



Have 1) a hookup to projection equipment, and know your computer’s method of displaying via LCD to projector/screen and TV monitor, 2) someone who has a video or LCD projector, 3) a tray table, tripod, and extension cord



Have outlines/tokens for:




Can quickly prepare job dictionary and add defines in realtime



Have a backup reporter for CART jobs; have a backup copy of your job dictionary



Have in place clearly written and agreed-on billing, payment, and confidentiality-of-disk arrangements before performing the CART work



Keep striving for the CRR and CRC!



Most of all, love being a professional CART captioner!