General Information about Captioning and CART

How Do You Create Access with Captioning?

Congratulations for asking about captioning inclusion to make your events accessible to many more people. Captioning for all kinds of human communication – videos, meetings, public presentations, medical appointments, webinars, conferences, or semester-long courses – is required by millions of people of all ages with hearing loss. Captioning is also used by many others in any audience, helping people who speak a different language to boost their literacy, helping people with other sensory or learning differences, and helping those who want to improve their reading ability. In fact, one in five people in any audience will use captioning for full communication access.

CaptionMatch makes it easy to arrange for captioning. The service was developed by the Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (the CCAC), a large community of volunteer citizens who understand the value of captioning inclusion.

Here are a few general points of information to introduce you to the process:

Types of Captioning

There are several different kinds of captioning services. Real time live captioning (often called CART in the U.S. and STTR elsewhere) is either done by a professional captioner in the room (on-site) or sent remotely to the individual or audience via the Internet. Real time captioning is used for many events, conferences, classes, consultations, and much more, whether live in-person or live online.

Real time captioning is immediate verbatim speech-to-text for all to see. It is created by a professional using one of a few different technologies, including steno CART, voice writing (also called re-speaking), Velotype, and Palantype. Other, less than verbatim methods, are called C-Print and Typewell. Fast typing is used for note-taking. The term “captioning” does not refer to assistive listening devices, nor looping, nor FM systems. Captioning is a skill that the human provider brings to your audience, with her or his own equipment.

If the real time captioning provider is working remotely away from the location of your event (e.g., in a different city or country), she or he will explain to you in advance what is needed in the room. Internet access is required and a microphone, though at times the microphone in a computer is sufficient, depending on the size of the event. The provider may bring her own projector to show the speech-to- text from her own computer and other equipment. At times the captioner provides a screen also; at other times a wall is used. These details are arranged after you decide which provider you are using. CaptionMatch itself is not the provider, we are a clearinghouse that matches you with a provider of your choice, after you “register” and then place your request into our system online.

Media (video clips, movies, radio and television) is also captioned for communication access, as are some theater and cultural presentations. Another sort of captioning is for webinars and training videos online, which many organizations are now offering. These also need to be accessible.

Requesting any sort of captioning for the first time is a great learning experience. It is well worth doing this to open your programs, meetings, and events to a much larger interested audience. After the first time, asking and arranging captioning is much easier.

Costs of Captioning

One question from all organizations concerns the cost. Real-time captioning usually is billed by the hour, and there is a wide range of rates that providers charge, depending on many factors (location, availability, experience, credentials, the size of the job in hours, weeks or months). A very general range for CART in the U.S. is about $75 up to $200 per hour. The lower rates may be from a student, a beginning professional or new company, or may be for remote service.

With CaptionMatch, if more than one provider is available, you have the advantage of comparing proposals and costs from different providers. This is a major benefit of using CaptionMatch.

In many parts of the U.S., and in all countries, there is a real shortage of CART providers, so their time is best booked in advance. Timely registration on CaptionMatch, and placing your request with a suggested timeframe of one to two months in advance is important. Nevertheless, we can also work quickly to help you find a captioner on shorter notice.

Costs of other kinds of captioning services vary also, from about $3 per minute (for videos for one example) to more, depending on the quality of the material and what is needed by consumers.

Equal communication access for all public events is required by the U.S. law called the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). If you welcome the public, then you are obligated to provide access for their needs. If costs are a concern, and if a benefactor is not easily found, there are many ways for a less-endowed organization to raise funds, again, with sufficient advance planning. We are told by those who do this that it is hugely worthwhile for all involved, because it helps the organization become better known in its own networks. Organizations that make captioning available are admired for their efforts for inclusion of all.


Please read over all the pages on the website when you have a few quiet minutes to learn more. We suggest you start with the homepage,, then see also, and also the case studies .

Use the email address of CaptionMatch to ask any questions you have: [email protected]. We look forward to talking with you.