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Readers Respond: Sign Language Interpreting Versus Computer Aided Realtime Translation

Responses: 9


Updated July 14, 2011

Have you experienced both sign language interpreting and communication access realtime translation (CART)? I recently had a class in which I had both because one was temporarily unavailable. I quickly realized there are advantages and disadvantages to both. For example, when I had to speak in front of the class, the CART person could not accompany me whereas a sign language interpreter could have. What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Project Manager Needs Interpreter

I lost my hearing in the military due to loud noise exposure in my 20's. I'm now in my 40's and while I am still learning ASL, I find that many of my co-workers don't understand that because I talk fine, I can't hear. I find in meetings that I would much prefer an interpreter than using CART. I'm a project manager, so my participation is necessary. I normally have a scribe taking notes and while I've found them to be fairly clear - you don't get the emotional impact that you do from an interpreter. CART doesn't enable me to interact with anyone and while the notes may or may not be complete, I can always supplement them with what I remember from being interpreted.
—Guest - Spyc Bkr

Don't Remember ASL

I like both. I took ASL a long time ago, but I don't remember a lot of it (no one around me to practice with). Recently, I have been around interpreters at events and I just fill in what I see and what bits I hear. I rely a lot on lip reading. I have also been at an event where they used CART and it was great! I was able to get all of what was said (except for the typo's were a bit annoying, but I think the CART person was inexperienced). Karen
—Guest Karen P

Like the CART Notes

With CART, you can take home the notes and review them to see what you missed, what you didn't catch, etc. With an interpreter, you can't do that. Once the signs have been signed, it's on to something else. I find that having the notes later to read is a great tool, for often when it comes to hearing loss, we try to listen but we often miss things - be it our mind is distracted, we are thinking something else, etc.
—Guest Sandy Spekman

2D vs 3D

Both have their own advantage. Like 'Need CART' said, a lot of people lose their hearing when they get older, CART will be more beneficial. ASL interpreter for me will be beneficial because of the tonal nuances that you cannot see on CART. Plus CART is english based which can be difficult to read... 2D while ASL is 3D. Both are equal in cost, requires training and is beneficial. Transcripts can be provided by CART, upon request while you need to take notes or have someone take notes for you with ASL. The problem with companies is that they think in terms of business rather than what their consumers need, like CART for 'Need CART' because of language limitations that ASL interpreter will provide for this lady.
—Guest JoResa04

In This World Need Both

I believe those who are hard of hearing or late deaf should use cart, if you don't have sign language as your second language. I am a person who lost my hearing 20 years ago. Hearing aids do not help me and I don't wish for a Cochlear Implant. I decided to learn ASL but at times I like using Cart for meetings and taking my notes. Because at time I do misunderstand. In this world we need both.
—Guest Leslie

Use Both

Hi, i am a college student and i use both cart and interpreting for all of my class.. both does have pro and con.. pro for inpretering is that i am able to ask my teachers questions and be part of the class.. con is that if i am required to write notes, it is hard for me to do so watching the inpreter and writing in the same time, very hard! cart is awesmoe because some of my class have lot of notetaking and by have cart, it is easy plus after class finish, i just read the note all over again to make sure i understand it. con is that the person who cart for me doesnt know ASL so it is hard to talk with them but i am making it work.. i prefer use both of cart and inpretering in different classes if i feel like i will need either of them.
—Guest jazz e.

Need CART and FM

Many late deafened adults choose cochlear implants to restore their hearing. Insurance companies often pay for cochlear implants which are much more expensive than conventional hearing aids. What about a good FM system in addition to CART. I don't think it is realistic to expect people later in life to learn another language such as ASL for their daily communication. It would certainly be of help but the learning curve is pretty steep to use for normal communication and of course, not everyone uses ASL.

When Vocabulary Important

I would say that in a situation where you need the specific vocabulary discussed, (ie a class) CART would be the better option.
—Guest Miss Kat's Mom


I am a late deafened adult, starting losing my hearing in my very late 40s. Hearing aids still help me in quiet environments, one person at a time. I do not know ASL. CART is my only option for meetings and such. I am attempting to begin to learn ASL but since no one in my life, family, friends, extended family know ASL, I was never too motivated to try to learn, as there would be no one in my life with which to use it. Now, as my hearing continues to drop, and hearing aids are too expensive, my husband & I are going to learn ASL. Our new language in retirement to come... Companies think just offering an ASL interpreter, like my health care provider, is "good enough" and "covers the requirement" for accommodating the Deaf or Hard of Hearing. But that leaves out a lot of people like me, who lose their hearing later in life, can or have used hearing aids/cochlear implants to stay "afloat" in the "hearing world." And don't know ASL, which is a full language and takes a lot of learning.
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