CART FAQ: Falling On Deaf Ears, Part IV of VII

CART FAQ: Falling On Deaf Ears, Part IV of VII
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Comments to my CART FAQ articles continue to percolate. So shall my responses.

The following are questions I work to address pro bono as we move forward within our careers. To further assist you, Part I, II and III and many articles that I’ve written about my experiences with CART and deaf topics are online at and Monette’s Musings,

When I attended the national NCRA convention in New Orleans to learn, to see old buddies, to greet new friends, I listened to many individuals who stated they wanted and needed to share with me as an experienced court reporter, tutor and CART provider.

Many people are motivated, energized and ready to move forward. Some are angry and frustrated. I’m convinced that where you are depends on how you stay up with technology.

Those “frustrated” (their words) admitted they do not have the skills, knowledge or attitude to move forward. Those excited for the future created time to become familiarized with where they want to go. I share questions I received. Numbers 25-28, sadly, I’ve heard many times.

25. “Can I practice on college students? I need to learn how to provide CART.”

I was asked this so often, I picked up the mic during a NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, panel seminar, and from the panel seat in front of the room, I replied, “Hell, no,” and dropped the mic on the table. It bounced.

We need to be very careful where we practice. Practicing “on” anyone who is relying upon our professional skills for an education, grade, degree, job or minutes is inappropriate.

We can practice in our home or the back of a room (perhaps at a public meeting or in a church), with the screen down. When people approach to view and/or purchase a transcript, the practicing reporter/student should be very careful.

This is their first impression of you – one long remembered.

Usually, movers and shakers attend meetings to advance their rights. It would be unwise to share work you believe to be inferior to the minutes of any meeting. (Even if they say it’s okay to have untranslates, trust me, they remember.)

Just as theory students wouldn’t think about practicing (sharing a screen or record) in court, CART providers must work toward their goal. Time invested into the goal benefits everyone – you, most of all.

26. “Can I practice in church?”

Again, practice depends on where you are. If you’re practicing within a church, screen down, reach for heaven and the stars. If you’re practicing and learning on a large screen or television, people relying on your skills may not receive “the Word of God.”

I learned in the corner, screen down. After several months, I moved forward with my practice. Skills depend on practice.

Most church terms are not within a court reporter’s dictionary. I was humbled many a time. I excelled in learning how to fingerspell on the fly (in realtime), and I added thousands of words into my dictionary before I went up on the screen.

I built my skills. This assisted everyone dependent upon my large screen during a mass dedicated to Catholic Deaf to “hear” God’s Word.

I received so many requests on this topic from working captioners, we developed a specific tool to assist religious writers. Volume E, Universal Religions Interactive CD has 40,000 terms for the ‘CATapult Your Dictionary’ CD series to assist people preparing for this path. (This CD and others are listed at

27. “I’m too busy to read the JCR. I’m only here for CE points. How do I learn CART, then CART remotely to the Net? I may have clients requesting this service soon.”

Everyone has to eat lunch. Everyone sits at traffic lights, in bank parking lots. Time is there. There are many opportunities to learn how to do CART. State and national conventions have CART seminars. To not attend seminars that teach how to provide this service is truly sad in my opinion.

I wouldn’t even consider CARTing to the Internet without extra hands, phone lines, equipment and technical expertise. Yes, there are some who CART remotely without extra hands, but each will share they’ve had problems. Lines go down; equipment problems occur; technical issues arise.

I wouldn’t even consider doing a remote job without technical assistance. Writing to the Internet is a job for advanced CART providers. You will have problems working jobs when you’re not seated next to your consumer/audience. Every captioner has an engineer, so should CART providers. For those who have prepared and have learned the CART remote ropes, the sky’s the limit!

28. “How much does it pay?” Please see my previous answers.

29. “I’m a CART provider and was contacted by someone who may Baker Act (commit) a deaf person. The reporters with the contract do not do CART. I’m concerned about the deaf person, their rights. Someone advised: ‘God takes care of people.’ Should I let them work this out?”

I came to a complete halt in my work and immediately phoned this reporter, saying softly, “God does not want the deaf person to get a poor job.” Then I spoke honestly and thanked this professional for reaching out to me prior to accepting this job.

Oh, my gosh! We’re guardians of the record; professionals that people look to for accuracy.

We must know when to reach out and request guidance and additional help. If someone is going to provide CART for a deaf person in any setting, that reporter must be qualified.

Are they Deaf, deaf, oral, hard-of-hearing or early deafened?

To provide realtime for any deaf or hard-of-hearing person, we must determine if the person needs a sign interpreter and/or CART provider. If the person’s first language is sign language, then it’s usually the interpreter. If the person is asked, we need to honor their choice.

Mike O’Donnell is “a deaf professional involved in the field of communication accessibility services over 13 years.” He’s a gifted man, owning Com Access, Bethesda, MD. His logo: Where Communication Barrier Has No Place.

Mike attends our NCRA conventions, works with CART providers and uses sign interpreters to assist him. He reached out to us. We need to embrace his knowledge and hear about the personal experiences he and others have had. They live with moments we can only read and write about.

We sat next to each other at the New Orleans presidential banquet. During dinner, when I signed, “My brother died one year ago tonight,” Mike took my hands, bowed his head and signed (said) a prayer to God for my brother. My world stood still — again — and I felt blessed for being embraced in this community and the trenches.

Mike has earned my respect for his commitment to all of us working together. May this be so, always.

I wish you a blessed path – in realtime – as you read this. Let’s reach out and share in realtime one set of ears, one set of hands at a time.

And yes, you have my permission to share my articles. My online articles are preserved under the CART Special Interest Group,, and

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