Captions provide the textual equivalent of audible information. This includes spoken words and other audible information, such as meaningful sounds. Captions can be added to pre-recorded videos or they can be provided in real time (live). They also can be provided by a professional (human) transcriber or they can be machine generated (automatic captioning).
Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART)
Sometimes referred to as live captioning, CART is a real-time, speech-to-text transcription service whereby a professional (human) transcriptionist, using a steno machine, transcribes audible information for display either on a large display for in-person events, or streamed via a web conferencing platform. The transcriptionist can be present in the room during an in-person event or can receive the audio feed remotely, and the text feed is transmitted back to the room display.
Automated Captioning/Speech Recognition
Automated captioning involves the use of speech recognition technology to produce captions. Speech recognition can be used to generate captions for pre-recorded videos or can sometimes be used to generate real-time captions. There are hundreds of speech-to-text products available, some of which are built into web conferencing platforms.
Signed language, for example American Sign Language (ASL) is a form of communication that uses hand movements and facial expressions. Signed languages are not signed versions of spoken/written language, rather they are complete languages, with their own linguistic properties. This is why ASL or another form of signed language may be needed in addition to/instead of captioning
Web Conferencing Tools
Web conferencing tools are collaborative tools that facilitate synchronous meetings, screen sharing, webinars and other online events. The University has a number of web conferencing tools including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate, etc. These tools have varying levels of support and capabilities for display of real-time captions (CART) and ASL interpreters.
The following guidelines apply to both in-person and virtual events. Please note that event organizers must carefully consider these guidelines when selecting a venue or before choosing the best web conferencing tool. See the CART Equipped Spaces page or contact LEMP for more information about specific locations. Visit the Accessibility section of the Web Conferencing Comparison page in Answers for information about captioning and ASL interpreter capabilities of various web conferencing platforms.
Individual Accommodations for Students and Faculty
- If this is a classroom event for which a student has requested an accommodation, the Center for Disability Resources (formerly the Office of Disability Services) will work with that student to determine the accommodation that best meets their individual needs.
- If this is a meeting or other event for which an employee has requested an accommodation as part of their job function, visit the Faculty & Staff Accommodations page and directly contact the Disability Accommodation Specialist, who will determine in consultation with the employee the accommodation that best meets their individual needs.
- Add a statement to all event announcements inviting participants to request accommodations. For example: If you require accommodations, please contact (contact person) at (contact information) by (date typically 1 to 2 weeks before event).
- If the event will be attended by fewer than 100 participants, provide ASL Interpreting and/or CART services when requested. See ASL Interpreting /CART Services page for a list of service providers.
- If the event will be attended by fewer than 100 participants and accommodations have NOT been requested, you are welcome to provide real-time captions using an automated option.
- If the event is expected to draw 100 or more attendees, provide ASL Interpreting and CART services. See ASL Interpreting /CART Services page for a list of service providers.
Note: If these guidelines indicate that CART services are required, automated captioning should not be used.