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Computer-aided realtime translation (CART) technology.

Realtime reporting is most commonly used in captioning live television programs. VITAC/captionAmerica in Pittsburgh, The Caption Center in Boston, the National Captioning Institute in Virginia, and Caption Colorado in Denver are four major captioning agencies in the United States. Those persons who perform the captioning function are referred to as "captioners" or "stenocaptioners." They work in a soundproof room, sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles away from the TV studio that is broadcasting the program. The stenocaptioner listens to the words spoken on the live broadcast and simultaneously stenotypes those words on a shorthand machine which sends the electronic data to a computer. The computer instantly translates the stenotyped shorthand into English text and sends that text via modem to the TV studio, which then sends the closed captions out as part of its broadcast signal (hence the reference to "realtime"). At home, the deaf viewer uses either an external decoder box or a television set with an internal decoder chip to read the captions on the TV screen.

In contrast, CART reporters are trained to facilitate communication directly between consumers who are hearing imparired and who are fluent in English but who cannot, for any of several reasons, use sign language or oral interpreters. In its broadest sense, CART reporting is one type of interpreting.

Sitting at a 24-key stenotype machine connected to a computer, a CART reporter types phonetic shorthand outlines onto the keyboard. The shorthand is then sent to the computer which has a special software program designed to instantaneously translate the shorthand into English text by use of a shorthand dictionary. With less than one-second delay, the steno words are matched with the English words, translated, and displayed on the computer monitor.

If the dictionary cannot match the word exactly, the shorthand outline can appear as either untranslated steno outlines or as partially translated English. For example, if the word "cochlear" is not in the reporter's dictionary, the computer could translate it either as KOEBG/HRAOER (untranslated steno) or "coke leer" (incorrect English translation). Sometimes the consumer is given a choice of homophones, such as hear/here or seem/seam, and must rely on his or her language abilities to decipher the context.

However, this context-dependent method can sometimes get cluttered and make the flow of reading bothersome. Thus, the more extensive the reporter's dictionary, the higher will be the percentage of accurate translation.

With this type of instantaneous translation software combined with a highly skilled CART reporter, speech can be converted to text at speeds up to 260 words per minute.

CART provides communication access pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and, in general, is preferred by late-deafened adults, oral deaf persons, and some hard of hearing persons.
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Title Annotation:captioning live television programs
Author:MacDonald, Linda M.
Publication:American Rehabilitation
Date:Dec 22, 1993
Previous Article:Meeting the needs of late-deafened adults.
Next Article:Recognizing and treating speech and language disabilities.

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