The Role of CART- Part 1: Helping English as a Second Language Learners

Captioning services used in court reporting and other appropriate locations (like a classroom) are useful in providing an accurate transcript of the spoken word. A subset of captioning services, CART professionals provide real-time speech transcriptions. CART, or Communication Access Real-time Translation [PDF], has been useful both to people who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as English as a second language learners. People who are hearing impaired receive direct benefits. They can read the transcript and understand immediately. An English as a second language learner, even when given a transcript from CART professionals, may need help in order to understand fully. Even with a transcript of the spoken word, an English as a second language learner may be unfamiliar with certain words and their meanings. CART professionals and translators should consider working together for English as a second language learners who request CART transcripts, in order to provide learners with a complete understanding of an oral conversation.

CART professionals provide services both remotely through an online feed accessible to clients and onsite. For nonnative English speakers, listening comprehension difficulties may occur, due both to the rate of speech and unknown vocabulary or grammar. CART helps to overcome some of the issues associated with listening comprehension by using transcripts, but even then, an English as a second language learner may face challenges resulting from the language barrier.

If an English as a second language learner struggles with reading comprehension as well, a transcript alone will not clarify confusion. Professional translators can work with CART professionals by providing a translation of a transcript into a learner’s native language once the transcript is complete. The client can use this translation to ensure they have a complete understanding of the original spoken conversation.

While CART focuses on people who are hearing impaired, English as a second language learners also benefit by using this service. CART transcripts become more beneficial for English as a second language learners when CART professionals and translators work together.

As a translator, have you ever worked with CART professionals to facilitate communication between hearing impaired clients or English as a second language learners? We would love to know your thoughts about the benefits of using CART together with translation services.



Nisar, the dynamic force behind Translation Excellence, stands tall as its founder and CEO. This isn’t just any company—it’s a global heavyweight in boutique language services. Hailing from the vibrant city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nisar brought his passion and expertise to the U.S. shores in 2001. In the realm of languages, he’s a titan. With 19 years under his belt, he’s worn hats from a linguist and instructor to a cultural bridge-builder and curriculum craftsman.

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