Frequently Asked Questions


Who is behind Visible Voices?

Visible Voices has been providing CART services in Colorado and nationally since 1996.  Company President and CART Provider Claudette Mondragon holds the designation of Certified CART Provider (or CCP) from the National Court Reporter’s Association.  She is passionate about providing quality and affordable CART services to people who are deaf and hard of hearing locally and nationally.  She is one of the only CART Providers in Colorado authorized by the Colorado Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing to provide CART in legal settings.

Visible Voices staff members provide CART services to individuals and organizations throughout the Denver metro area and Colorado’s Front Range cities, such as Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins , and Greeley.  In addition, Visible Voices can provide Remote CART services to Colorado residents on other areas, as well as nationally.  All our CART providers have advanced skills and are trained with the ability to write at speeds of up to 225 words per minute with a minimum of 98% accuracy.

I want to learn more about CART serices where do I start?

Start right here!
Visible Voices has been educating consumers, businesses, and organizations about the use of CART for more than 12 years.  Because CART services are a relatively new accommodation for people with hearing loss, we are actively reaching out to Colorado communities to spread the word about how CART can improve access to information for the more than 475,000 individuals in Colorado with hearing loss.

What is CART?

CART is an acronym for Communication Access Realtime Translation, CART is an instant translation of the spoken word into English text.  CART is sometimes referred to as “computer assisted realtime transcription” or “computer aided realtime translation.”  At Visible Voices, we use Communication Access Realtime Translation because if focuses attention on the “why” of what we do (Provide access) instead of “how” we do it.  (We do use computers, though.)  Some of our clients use phrases like “live event captioning” or simply “live captioning” to help others understand our services.

CART is a type of “accommodation” service for people with disabilities.  In function, CART is similar to sign language interpreting for people who are deaf, because it transforms spoken language into a visual format that is appropriate for people with hearing loss.  But CART can be used by the 95% of hard of hearing and deaf people who do not use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.

CART service is mentioned specifically in the Americans with Disabilities act of 1990 (ADA) as a form of “reasonable accommodation” for people with hearing loss, in the same context ASL interpreters.  In fact, CART Providers and ASL Interpreters can work together at events to ensure that proceedings are accessible to deaf and hard of hearing attendees, regardless of their communication preferences. 

What are "Accomodation Services?"

This terminology comes from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and we use the term to cover services that enable people with disabilities to participate in events and enjoy similar experiences as people without disabilities do.  CART is a form of accommodation services that works well for people with hearing loss who prefer Communication in English over sign language communication.  It allows people who are hard of hearing , deaf, late deafened, oral deaf, deaf-blind, and people with auditory processing disorders to use an “alternate channel” for communication by turning spoken language into readable text.  In the language of the ADA, accommodation services are also called “auxiliary aids and services” so you might encounter or use that term.

How does CART work?

The CART provider arrives before the beginning of an event to set up equipment:  a stenography machine, a laptop computer, and sometimes a projector and screen.  The stenography machine that CART Providers use is like the ones court reporters use, with a special 22-key keyboard and a number bar that allows fast text entry.  Words are not entered letter by letter, but by unique combinations of letters that represent sounds or phonemes.  The coded text is transmitted to a laptop computer outfitted with customized CART software.  There, the text is translated into English words with the help of special dictionaries created by the CART Providers. 
The text is displayed in one of several ways, depending on the situation.  For onsite CART,  1 or 2 people simply read the English text from the laptop screen.  Projected CART is for groups of individuals where the CART text is projected onto a screen, usually placed close to the main speakers or presenters at an event. 

How fast is CART?

Visible Voices, Inc. staffs CART Providers who caption at rates of 225 words per minute with a minimum of 98% accuracy.  In practice, the text shows up just seconds after the speaker talks.  Most CART consumers find that the pace of CART is very comfortable, and the text appears quickly enough that they can keep up with live speech, even when there are multiple speakers.

What are the benefits of using CART?

There are many benefits of CART, namely Equal Access to communication. CART provides
our clients the confidence and ability to fully participate in any event. The most common benefits of CART are:

ABILITY- To fully participate in life events
CONFIDENCE- To join in on conversations, knowing all the words and environmental sounds are captured
FREEDOM- of choice regarding setting, display options and seating
INDEPENDENCE- To decide what is important in the material being presented

Where can I use CART?

CART can be used virtually anywhere access to communication is needed.  Here are a few examples of places where CART can be used:

  • Classrooms
  • Courtrooms
  • Churches
  • Business meetings
  • Government
  • Conferences and Conventions
  • Medical appointments
  • Social events
  • Senior Center meetings
What about CART in the workplace?

We have provided CART services for a variety of workplace activities, to ensure that people with hearing loss have equal access to information as other people at work.  Visible Voices has captioned regular staff meetings, employee training sessions, job interviews, company retreats, one-on-one staff evaluations, and even a group dinner at a restaurant!  We also provide clients with resources to inform others at work about how communication access services help all employees work better together by removing communication barriers. 

Can I use CART in my college classes?

Yes!  Visible Voices has 16 years of experience in providing CART services for students of all ages, in settings that include public school classrooms, university and community college courses, adult continuing education classes, and professional development events such as seminars, workshops, and conferences.  According to the National Court Reporters Foundation, “Students with hearing loss who have access to assistive technology such as CART are provided with the same opportunities to learn and grow as hearing students.  This growing technology allows the student to take an active role in the classroom and meet his or her potential as a scholar.”

Can you do CART in Spanish?

For now, we are captioning in English: from spoken English to written English.  We don’t caption speech in Spanish, for example, but if a Spanish translator is present at an event to translate from Spanish to English, we can caption the translated words in English. 

Can you turn American Sign Language into captions?

We often provide CART for things said by American Sign Language users by teaming with ASL Interpreters.  The interpreters voice the signed text to us and we caption that.  In fact, at meetings where most of the conversation occurs in ASL, the interpreters may sit close to the CART Providers and voice just for them.

Who pays for CART services?

Visible Voices generally bills the organization that presents an event for CART services rather than the individual client.  This is because the ADA gives Americans rights to such services under specific circumstances, and most of our work occurs within those situations.  We have worked with organizations including Colorado district courts, various state and federal government agencies, a number of universities and community colleges, public k-12 schools, city and county offices, and hundreds of private companies. 

From time to time, a client will request CART for an event that is not covered by the ADA, and will pay us directly for the CART service.  If you have an event that is not covered by the ADA and other laws, please contact us to discuss your options.

How do I request CART?

You start by contacting Visible Voices as far in advance of an event as possible.  That gives us the best chance of being able to schedule CART providers for your event.  Please visit our Contact page for more information.

How do I prepare for CART before an event?

We can handle requests for events a month, six months, or a year from today.  We prefer as much time as possible when scheduling as we cannot guarantee coverage for an event if you are calling the day before.  We can also keep a request on file for your regularly repeating events, such as monthly discussion groups or quarterly meetings.

Who uses CART?
It is estimated that approximately 32 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing. CART can be used by people with any degree of hearing loss. They rely on accommodations such as CART to have equal access to the same information hearing people enjoy. CART can also be used by people learing English as a second language, beginning readers, and by other disability groups (such as people with auditory processing disorders.)