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The term CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) or live captioning refers to technologies allowing a person with different hearing issues to see captions during a live event, such as a student team meeting, news report, or sports broadcast.


  • Live captioning allows people who are hard of hearing or deaf to fully understand an event’s content in real time. They can fully participate in the event, including asking questions about the content.
  • A transcript can usually be saved for later review by any viewer as needed.
  • Live captioning can benefit hearing participants in a virtual meeting room if there are audio issues, non-native speakers of English, or a person who missed a phrase.
  • The live captions can also help any viewer with spelling of new vocabulary or a name.


Because of the speed necessary for live captioning, it is generally recommended that a vendor be hired. Another alternative would be to hire a person, such as a court reporter, who is certified in live captioning transcription for different events within the institution.

Remote Vendors

A partial list of some Captioning and CART services used by some Penn State units are listed below.

Live Services

Live services meeting the requirements of 98.6% translation accuracy delivered within 2 to 3 seconds for a DHH (Deaf and Hard of Hearing) accommodation.

ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Services

Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) services provide live captioning/transcript resources do NOT meet the DHH accommodation requirements. However, transcripts/captions can be edited if a recording will be posted later.

Additional vendors include:

  • C-Print – A captioning technology/service developed at National Technical Institute for the Deaf, at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
  • WGBH Media Access Group – Another recognized organization providing accessibility services.
  • VITAC (formerly Caption Colorado) – A service which has been used by several Penn State units.


Any captioner who provides support for Penn State educational programming must be certified through the National Court Reporters Association (

Enable Zoom Caption Window

See information on the Penn State Zoom Accessibility page.

Event Set Up

When organizing an event, you should think about these details. (See Live Caption White Paper for more detailed information):

Microphones and Audio Quality

Ensure that microphones for the event are working and fully charged. It is important to be sure the audio quality is sufficient for the captionist.

Access for Captioners

Will the captioner be in same room or somewhere else? If the captionist is remote, can they log in to or access the streaming or conference system?

Caption Window (Remote Access)

Use a platform that has a single caption window that anyone who needs live captions can view the captions with the video.

Recording for Later

If a live event has been recorded and the live caption transcription file archived, it is possible to convert the transcription to a closed caption file. Results based on a recording should always be checked for accuracy before being posted.

Last Update: May 5, 2020

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