Voice writing is often conflated with court reporting—some publications even use the two terms interchangeably. But voice writing is a skill that translates into multiple career paths! CART services, remote and realtime captioning services, and private-hire voice writing are all jobs that allow you to work remotely while still being very well compensated. Let’s discuss them a little bit further.
What Is CART?
CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation. It allows for instantaneous transcription of spoken words into text through the use of a computer, speech-to-text software, and an open mic headset. As the spoken word is repeated by the voice writer into the headset, the speech-to-text software transcribes it. That text is then simultaneously displayed on a monitor, screen, or other display so that people who are Deaf or hard of hearing can easily read it and participate in what is happening. CART transcripts are viewed on laptops, monitors, or large display screens through a remote Internet connection or a direct connection to the CART consumer.
While this technology is most often utilized for people who are Deaf or suffer from hearing loss, it can also be extremely helpful for people with auditory processing disorders, people with learning disabilities, and ESL (English as a Second Language) viewers. CART voice writers are most often hired to serve in government workplaces, schools and universities, or large conventions and conferences held by private industry organizations.
CART is an excellent career choice for voice writers who want to make a difference with their work and help others. CART services provide equal access for the hearing disabled, allowing them to receive and absorb the same information at the same rate as everyone else in the room. CART facilitates full immersion in the presentation by capturing not only the words of the speaker, but the environmental sounds that provide context as well (i.e. “laughter” and “clears throat”). This removes some of the more prominent challenges of hearing disabilities and allows those who have them to interact with their setting more fully.
Although in the past most CART services required you to be present at the scene of the presentation, most CART providers today perform their services remotely from their home with a high-speed Internet connection. In the wake of the recent pandemic, the need for these services has literally exploded, and CART companies providing these services are finding it increasingly difficult to find the number of quality providers to fulfill the demand.
Registered CART Providers are paid as independent contractors on an hourly basis at a rate of $55 and up depending upon their experience and accuracy rate.
Do I Need Special Communication Access Realtime Translation Training?
While you can certainly pursue specific CART certifications to continue your education and boost your industry knowledge and resume, all you need to get started in CART services is an education in realtime voice writing.
The International Realtime Court Reporting Institute is an excellent online school choice for students who are interested in performing CART services. All of the courses are self-guided, which means you can finish in as little as six months or take your time and finish in about a year. This 27-lesson program helps students master realtime voice writing technologies and techniques like:
- Proper punctuation for the spoken word
- How to prepare transcripts
- What it takes to pass the CART certification exam given by the NVRA
- How to use speech-to-text tools like Dragon Professional and Eclipse VOX
- The fundamentals of a realtime voice writing theory
The lead instructor at the International Realtime Court Reporting Institute is a certified Realtime Verbatim Reporter (RVR), and all of the instructors will be by your side every step of the way from your first class to graduation day. IR also has a Registered CART Provider (RCP) on staff to help you every step of the way.
Other Remote Opportunities for CART Providers
As well as the educational and corporate environment, everyday CART services are also provided to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community, such as telephone calls, composing emails, and other life needs.
Captioning for a Private Company
Consider, also, the option to work in captioning. Some very large companies (such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.) who hold multiple major events, hire thousands of people and/or produce high volumes of video content may choose to hire or contract directly with a talented verbatim voice writer to transcribe and caption their content and presentations. This can be done full time or on a contract-by-contract basis. Note, however, that some private companies may only require the services of a transcriber or voice writer when they are doing business with a person who has hearing disabilities.
What Is Broadcast Captioning?
In general, captioning is meant to provide access to television programming for Deaf and hearing-disabled people. Captioning is also used to provide text for TVs in bars and other noisy venues, to assist ESL viewers who have an easier time reading English than processing it auditorily, and to aid children and those with learning disabilities in their reading skills and understanding of the broadcast.
There are two main types of broadcast captioning: realtime broadcast captioning and offline captioning.
Realtime Broadcast Captioning
As a Registered Broadcast Captioner (RBC), you will work to produce accurate, readable representations of what is said during a broadcast while the program is occurring live. There are many captioning companies that provide these services, and specially trained voice writers who work as individual contractors—or sometimes as employees for the broadcast company itself—are capable of performing the same services.
Realtime broadcast captioning is used for television programming, news shows and special reporting, relay conference calls, financial reporting conference calls, awards ceremonies, conferences, and other large events.
A realtime captioner salary averages around $55,000 annually across the country. However, this figure can increase substantially with special certifications, industry specialization, and experience. It is not unusual for top performers to make upwards of $120,000 per year.
Offline Broadcast Captioning
As an offline broadcast captioner, you are responsible for creating captions that are encoded to videotape before the program airs. This is most often used for scheduled television programming like soap operas, reality TV shows, fictional TV programs, airing movies, etc. The process for post-production of offline broadcasting is actually very different from realtime broadcast captioning because it involves scripts and more detailed ambiance noise description, but it can still be performed by voice writers.
Remote captioning services like these are usually hired out to contract workers for between $25 and $45 per hour. If you could get 40 hours of work per week all year round, that would offer you between $52,000 and $93,600 annually.
Begin Your CART Journey Today
If you are interested in Communication Access Realtime Translation training or any other type of realtime verbatim voice writing, the International Realtime Court Reporting Institute is here to help! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about course work, certifications, or career paths as a verbatim voice writer. Give us a call at (501) 823-9179, or contact us online for more information.