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CART in the USA

RDR, CCP, CBC Jennifer Schuck



Jennifer Schuck is a Registered Diplomate Reporter, certified through the National Court Reporters Association in the United States of America. She also holds the Certified CART Provider as well as the Certified Broadcast Captioner certifications as well. Currently, she sits on the committee that creates both the written exam as well as the skills tests for the CCP and CBC certifications. It should be noted that Jennifer uses the steno method and not the voice method to provide her services.
Both the CCP and CBC exams are a five-minute dictation at 180 words per minute. Passing rate is 96% accuracy without the opportunity to make corrections after the dictation has ended. That calculates out to 36 errors in five minutes. There is also a 100-question written exam that focuses on technology, writing ability and ethics with regarding to providing CART (communication access realtime translation) or broadcast captioning. These certifications are not required to provide CART. There are a few states in the US that have laws requiring some sort of certification. This is an issue that is a hot topic and many groups have been formed to discuss how to ensure quality CART services to all deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.
Jennifer owns her own business in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Her primary focus is on providing CART in the educational setting, primarily K-12 grades. This has been her focus since 2004. However, she’s been a court reporter since 1993.
In the USA, court reporters use computer-aided transcription (CAT). This requires the purchase of CAT software. There are approximately three big ones to pick from, with a few smaller companies as options. All the software is PC-based. A Mac computer may be used but Windows needs to be installed on it in order for the software to work. The cost for this software is approximately $4,000 USD. In order to provide CART, only CAT software is needed. In order to caption to television, a special add-on software is needed. Captioning software is approximately $7,500 USD for the complete package.
In the US, there is a distinction between CART and captioning. CART is used in educational settings, business settings, churches, both remotely and onsite. It is the same as STTR in Europe. Captioning in the US is very similar to CART except that it requires a little more technology and captioning by its strict definition means the test is embedded into a video feed. “Realtime captioning” is the term used for both CART and captioning. When a consumer or client requests “realtime captioning,” the professional needs to clarify exactly what services are needed so they know which equipment is required for the job.
CART providers strive to be verbatim, write everything word for word. This requires the skill to be able to write 225-260 words per minutes, if not more, with extreme accuracy. Some hard-of-hearing (HOH) consumers do request the CART provider to not write verbatim if their reading skills are not fast enough to be able to read the screen as fast as the speaker is speaking. CART is requested often for higher-level classes in a college. In the high school setting, it is requested for students who have proficient reading skills and are college-bound.
The goal for CART providers is to provide communication access. There is a debate amongst CART providers about what this means. Some believe this means we write only what is said while the consumer is present in the class or meeting. Some believe that even if the consumer is not present, the CART provider should still write everything being said and provide a transcript later, in essence, providing communication access then. There is no rule on this issue and it is something that should be discussed with the client in the case of the educational setting. There’s difficulty in making these types of decisions because the entity paying for the services is often not the HOH individual, thus the HOH individual has no say in the types of services that are provided.
How does stenography work? The stenograph machine is made up of consonants and vowels. Consonants are both the left and right hand. The vowels are struck with both thumbs. In this way, you are able to type phonetically syllable by syllable and create words. The strokes that are typed are then matched against a dictionary, a sort of database, that the CAT software then translates into the matched English word in the dictionary. When there are words typed that are not in the dictionary, or mistyped by the CART provider, then there is artificial intelligence built into the software to  ake a best guess of the word that was meant to be typed. Sometimes the translation is correct. Sometimes it is not. Also, a CART provider may type a word letter by letter if they know a spoken word will not translate correctly. This slows down their speed so they must have the skills to then pick back up the spoken words once they type letter by letter.
Because there are only approximately 750 CART providers in the entire country, they are all very busy. There is a lot of work. This means that services may be requested in parts of the country that there are no CART providers. In this instance, it can be provided remotely. To provide remote CART, it requires the CART provider to output their text to a Website that then provides a link to the text. That link is shared with the HOH individual to view the CART text during the meeting or class.


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