How’d That Happen? And Real-Time Captioners, Part I of III

How’d That Happen? And Real-Time Captioners, Part I of III
By Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
April 2013

Part I: As we listen, as we scan and troll, now and then a moment may stop us in our tracks. Each track depends on where we are at that moment. Each track when viewed over one’s shoulder, as hindsight, may appear to be very different.

And this is why I am still tilting my head asking “How’d that happen?”

Recently a mail list shared by court reporters, captioners, CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) providers, instructors, and students, someone posted a link “Appendix A, Hourly Pay for Real-Time Captioners.” Levels were identified with hourly rates. Each level states, “a minimum captioning speed of … and recommendation by the Director.”

Appendix A ends: “Along with the recommendation by the Director, all Captioners are encouraged to complete at least five (5) hours of Professional Development before moving to the next step on the pay scale.” (Note term: “Real-Time Captioners,” then “Captioners.”) This California college included their link to their “Handbook for Real-Time Captioners – Interpreting and Accommodation Services, Disabled Students Programs and Services.”

After seeing that post, I received multiple emails. People were concerned (a polite word I will use here). Professionals and pioneers wrote about the levels, and the college’s posted requirements.

I paused before I put my words in print.

I am still stunned, wondering, “How’d that happen?” because my take on it may be different from others.

I compare CART services to that of sign interpreters, and they, too, are in a national shortage. But the requirements are very different.

Many states require interpreters to work as a team when assignments run longer than 20 minutes. Each sign interpreter is paid per hour, typically with a minimum of multiple hours. Interpreters typically work portal to portal. Their clock begins when they head to the job: mileage is compensated. “Rounded-up,” I am frequently told.

Yes, events vary for interpreters.

Part I of III is posted April 7, 2013, on Monette’s Musings at and

Part II of III is posted April 11, 2013, on Monette’s Musings at and

Part II of III is posted April 27, 2013, on Monette’s Musings at and

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