Captioning and CART

Trusted Translations offers comprehensive transcription services for your videoconferences, webinars, events, and more. Our expert team provides both captioning and computer-assisted real-time transcription (CART) options to ensure that your communication is handled professionally and with exceptional accuracy.

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No matter what event you are organizing, it is essential—and, depending on the nature of your business and your location, legally required—to provide accessible transcription for participants. In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing participants in courtrooms, telehealth conferences, and more. Captions also help make events more inclusive to a wide range of participants, such as non-native speakers, or even just participants trying to tune in from a noisy environment.

Trusted Translations offers both of the industry-standard options for transcribing your events: computer-assisted real-time transcription (CART) and captioning.

CART (Computer-Assisted Real-time Transcription)

Sometimes referred to as “open captioning,” “real-time captioning,” or “Communication Access Real-time Transcription,” CART involves the use of a professional operator to provide real-time transcription of spoken words into text. That text appears on a screen, laptop monitor, or other device—such as a large projection screen connected to the CART provider’s laptop—to allow audience members to follow along with what is spoken.

CART professionals are highly trained experts; in the United States, they are usually certified by the National Court Reporters’ Association (NCRA). At live events, CART operators use specialized equipment that includes a transcription system, such as a stenotype machine or a stenomask (“voice writing”), a computer, and real-time software.

CART can also be provided remotely; in this case, the CART operator will stream their transcription using web technology or via telephone, and the attendee will view the transcript within the remote platform or through a separate link to a screen. Whether in-person or remote, CART is highly efficient and allows for much greater speeds than typing on a standard (QWERTY) keyboard.


In its most general definition, captioning is the transcription of audio elements (speech and sound) into text. Depending on the project at hand, captions—unlike CART, which inherently takes place in real-time—can be generated offline and added to pre-recorded media later; in this case, the captioner receives an audio file or script from the client and uses this as a basis for generating captions, as in the case of the captions we might see when streaming a Netflix show or watching a prerecorded airline safety video.

However, when it comes to live events specifically, captioning takes place in real time, involving the display of transcribed speech (such as a news broadcast) over a video, webinar interface, or other visual media stream. Often, the goal is to sync the captions as closely as possibly with the video content being shown. Like CART operators, professional captioners are professionally certified, and they use special stenographic equipment in their work.

Did You Know?
CART and real-time captioning have an average of 98% accuracy.
Did You Know?
CART operators can reach speeds of 260 words per minute.
Did You Know?
Captioning involves a special phonetic keyboard, not a standard QWERTY.
Did You Know?
At least 15% of U.S. adults report some difficulty hearing.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?

What’s the difference between captioning and CART?

Though often used interchangeably, there are a few key differences between captioning and CART. Most importantly, real-time captioning—because it can be overlaid on a variety of streaming formats—should be used for events that involve video or an online collaboration platform such as Webex, as well as any apps related to similar platforms.

CART, on the other hand, is better suited for events where a simple screen display of text by itself is sufficient for attendees to read the transcript—in other words, for events where all attendees are physically present in the same room, or where they will have access to a link at which a remote CART transcript will be streamed. For events that don’t involve a visual element, such as a phone conference call, remote CART services are your best option.

If you aren’t sure which transcription service is the right fit for your organization, our expert Trusted Translations team can provide you with professional guidance and point to what will best meet your needs.