StenoKnight CART Services: Realtime Captioning
		for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
This presentation was first broadcast on February 22nd, 2012, on That Keith Wann Show. Download the audio here. To earn CEUs for reading or listening to this presentation, visit CEUS On The Go.

What ASL Interpreters Should Know About Captioning

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KEITH: Welcome to the Keith Wann's ASL Radio Across America Show. If you don't start sponsoring my show, I'm going to take this off the air. That's the good news. Actually, tonight is our ASL radio CEU version. As you know, once a month we like to dedicate a full hour to providing CEUs for our working interpreters out there and other professionals who can get continuing education units. Tonight's topic -- let me get right to it -- is going to be presented by Mirabai Knight, who provides the ASL radio show CART/captioning services in our chat room. A quick introduction to Mirabai. She's the sole proprietor of StenoKnight CART Services. She transcribes classes, lectures, meetings, and conversations for students and professionals, both onsite in New York City and remotely via internet streaming technology. The reason why I asked her to come on here tonight and do this presentation is because as an interpreter I often travel, and I work with -- in situations that I also see a person providing CART, and in the beginning, I always felt threatened. I felt that they were a cheap alternative to us, being replaced. But through two years that Mirabai and I have worked together, I have learned so much more about the professionals who provide these services, and I'm very honored to have Mirabai on tonight and to talk about it. Mirabai, please take the floor. It's all yours.

MIRABAI: Hey, thanks a lot, Keith. First, I would actually like to thank Stan Sakai of Superlative Realtime, who is providing the captioning tonight, since I obviously can't talk and caption at the same time. Superlative Realtime is based in Seattle, Washington, but he also, as you can see in the chat room, works across the country, providing streaming text onsite and over the Internet. So I'm going to start out telling you a little bit about the history of the steno machine, which is the machine that we use to provide CART. It was originally invented in 1913, and at that point, it was only used for transcripts. Mainly courtroom transcripts, or in business settings. You know, sometimes when people took dictation they would have stenographers. And why couldn't it be used for Deaf people at that point? Well, because the process went like this: Back in the day, a stenographer would listen to English speech, then think about it, turn it into steno code in their head, write the code on the machine, which would then spit out a little piece of paper with the code just written right on there. And in order to turn that code back into English, you had to get someone who knew steno -- either the original stenographer or someone else who was trained in steno code -- to take that long, thin sheet of paper and write up each code word back into English manually on a typewriter. That was really tedious, and obviously it was far too time-consuming to be useful to actually help Deaf people navigate their daily lives.

That all changed in the 1980s, because, for the first time, computers could actually take that steno code and turn it back into written English. Now, computers still can't take the original speech signal and turn it into steno code, because that requires English comprehension, semantic knowledge of what's being said, and a sophisticated pattern recognition system that human brains are really good at and computers are really bad at. If you've ever seen the automated YouTube captioning on uploaded videos, you'll see that when a computer tries to understand human speech, it -- most of the time -- has no idea what it's doing. So you still need a human being to turn English speech into steno code. But computers can turn steno code instantly into written English. And that was when CART was born.

A little digression here. Just because some people are confused about the word "CART" versus the word "captioning." Now, honestly, they're starting to become more and more the same thing. The same word. Captioning is used -- because, first of all, let me tell you: CART starts for Communication Access Realtime Transcription. It's a long, unwieldy acronym, and no one's ever heard of it. And, you know, because it's such a common English word, it gets really easily mixed up with hot dog carts and T-shirt carts and ox carts and every other kind of cart out there. So "captioning" more and more is getting to be the word used for both providing encoded text on a video signal -- which is the original definition of captioning, like you see on your television -- and all the other ways in which stenographers provide realtime text for Deaf and hard of hearing people. Onsite, big public events, big screens up on a stage. All of those are currently called CART, but in future I think they're all going to be enfolded into the general category of captioning.

So what about closed captioning versus open captioning? People are also a little confused about that. Basically, closed captioning means the person viewing the captions have the ability to turn them on and off. If they don't want to look at them, they can turn them off, and they're gone. Open captions mean they're there whether you like them or not. So on your television -- you don't like the captions? Press the button on your remote. They're not there anymore. Whereas in a big public auditorium, when the captions are being displayed on a giant screen with a projector, the audience has no control over whether those captions are there or not. That is open captioning. And the majority of CART is open captioning.

Okay. So I feel like it's important to talk about the different populations served by CART providers and captioners, versus ASL interpreters. As Keith said when he introduced the show at the beginning, sometimes interpreters can feel threatened by CART providers, because they worry that -- first of all, they think that we're a cheaper service. As it turns out, we're not. Real stenographic CART providers generally charge either the same as ASL providers -- as a team of ASL providers, interpreters -- or even a little bit more. So sometimes I've actually wanted to offer CART to a client who's requested it, and the people who are supposed to pay for it will say, "you know, I don't think we can get you CART. That's too expensive. We'll get you interpreters instead." And, of course, if that client doesn't know ASL, that's not an appropriate accommodation, because ASL interpreters, no matter how good they are, will not actually help them very much.

So we are certainly not a cheaper alternative. The main issue, as I've just mentioned, is that we serve two pretty distinct populations. There's a little bit of overlap between the two, but by and large, CART providers and captioners serve the post-lingually deafened or the hard of hearing, meaning that someone has already learned their first language before they experienced any kind of hearing loss. Or they have hearing loss which affects their participation in some situations, but doesn't in others.

So if you have a little bit of mild to moderate hearing loss, you're considered hard of hearing, which means that you may be able to have a really easy conversation in a quiet room with one person, if you can read their lips, if you know the context of what you're talking about, if you can stop them and ask for confirmation if you think you might have heard something wrong. But say you're going into a college class for the first time, there's 100 people in this giant lecture hall, the professor is 20 feet away, you can't see their lips, you don't know what he's talking about, you can't fill in the gaps, because all of this material is new to you. You might need CART in that situation, where you wouldn't need it if you were just talking to professor one-on-one from 3 feet away. Or there are people are severe hearing loss, who need accommodations in just about every situation, but they don't know any ASL. And if English is their first language and they have good literacy, CART is definitely the most appropriate accommodation for them.

So you guys really don't need to feel threatened by CART providers. There is a little bit of overlap, like I said. There are some situations in which people might request both CART providers and ASL interpreters at the same time, and sometimes they're able to get both those accommodations, and find them very helpful to be able to sort of fill in the gaps. You know, use the ASL for higher-level conceptual ideas, and use the CART for, you know, dense, technical terminology that might not have one-to-one ASL equivalents. If they don't want to see, you know, constant fingerspelling for words that are 3 feet long, they might want to use a CART provider.

I actually have a student currently -- he's going to medicine school in the Caribbean, and he has two ASL providers onsite with him there. They do his lab work, they do his clinical rotations, and any classes that involve interaction. But his technical medicine lectures are done by both the ASL interpreters standing there in the room with him, and remote CART, which I do from up here in New York, so that he can get the verbatim output. Verbatim meaning word-for-word, no paraphrases, no condensing, no restructuring.

KEITH: Mirabai, let's stop there.

MIRABAI: All right. I think that's a good place to stop. Sounds good.

KEITH: We're going to take our first break. We'll come back and talk more with Mirabai from StenoKnight CART Services.

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PAULA: If you were at RID, you saw My Father's Gift, an homage to Wink's parents, of a time in their life that was very traumatic. But he now has it on DVD for you to see, with additional footage, not only of 30 minutes more of the show, but his visit to Minnesota to see the crash site. It is a moving story, and something you definitely want to have as part of your library. He also has SEE Me Fail, which is a comedy DVD that he has produced from his shows in ASL's Comedy Tour. You've got to get it, because you need the laughs. You can get those at www.Wink

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KEITH: Hey, there. This is Keith Wann. You've seen us on the ASL radio show, watching the visual videos. You've also heard us, listening to the audio podcast on iTunes. How about getting us live to come to your town? The ASL Comedy Tour is sponsored by Sign Language Access. It's a chance for us to come together and to learn about the different cultures, using comedy. American Sign Language will be used on the stage, and also a voice interpreter will be provided for ASL students to follow along.

WINDELL: And we have affordable packages for you to hire us to come out and provide this edutainment.

KEITH: What do Keith Wann, Wink, Peter Cook, Crom Saunders, Greg Spera, Branton Stewart have in common? They've all performed for the ASL Comedy Tour. Come enjoy a night of comedy and laugh your F-ing ASL off.

WINDELL: You can't say that!

KEITH: It's a classifier.

>> Y'all wave your hands. Look who's on. It's the CODA Man Keith, and he's Number Wann!

>> Welcome back to That Keith Wann Show. He's here to help us with a cultural bridge between the Hearing and the Deaf, with guests from the American Sign Language community and others who are here to share, encourage, and to teach. Now let's get back to the show. It's That Keith Wann Show on Toginet. And here again is your host, Keith Wann.

KEITH: And we're back. As you know, this is the show fully dedicated to you earning CEUs. For you that are listening to it live, right after the show go to the website, where you can download the post-test, multiple choice, and answer the questions, and earn your CEUs. Also if you're listening to this on iTunes at a later date, the test will be available. It will be up forever. Until I retire or whatever. So, again, Mirabai, during the break I checked in the chat room here, and I noticed that there are questions. Somebody commented -- this is eyethforce. He said the only negative thing about CART is typos. Suppose you use CART for legal reasons. Some typos could cause serious matter. Mirabai, the floor is yours.

MIRABAI: That is a really good point to bring up, and it actually leads into something that I was going to mention, because a lot of people don't understand the difference between court reporters and CART providers.

Now, we use the same machines, and there's no difference in the way that we write, but the purpose toward which we're writing is very, very different. And for legal situations where you want a completely 100% accurate account of everything that was said, you want a court reporter. Because what they do is they sit there, they take it all down, they might sometimes offer, like, lawyers the chance to look over their shoulder to see what they're writing. But frequently if you watch a court reporter's output, there's going to be a lot of stuff in there that, if you don't know steno, you can't read it. There'll be random words coming up, there will be stuff that seems sort of mashed together, letters that make no sense. Because they're not really focused on providing a realtime feed. Lawyers sometimes pay extra for it, because they like to sort of read it, just like sometimes how hearing people like to watch closed captions on television, even if they don't need it. Even if they don't have any hearing loss. But the main reason why the court reporter is there in the courtroom is to produce the official record of events, and most of the time, they actually will record the audio, and then go home and play the audio back, compare it to the transcript, decipher all of those weird, you know, screwed-up phrases that they might not have written perfect the first time. They'll go over it and over it and over it, and make sure that every word spoken in the courtroom is exactly what appears on the transcript. And then they certify it. They have to take a test to become Notary Publics, and they put their name on it and they say this was everything, every word spoken in that courtroom.

CART providers don't do that. We're not Notary Publics. We're actually a lot more like ASL interpreters. Our goal is to provide a feed that is as verbatim as possible, but our priority is to make it readable. Because we're there onsite for the consumer who's using that feed to participate in the events. To interact in realtime with what's going on. And sometimes we do provide a rough draft transcript of sorts. Usually for a nominal fee, with the proviso that it's not used officially. That it's not just uploaded and distributed as everything that was said. Because that opens us up to liability. We're not going home and comparing every word of that transcript against the audio. Our job is to be in the room and to get the text up there as quickly and as accurately as possible, with only a second or two delay, so that the Deaf consumer, sitting in the room, can read it and instantly respond. Sometimes that means, if we have to, we might substitute a pronoun for a name, if we don't have the spelling of a name. Sometimes -- we try not to, but we might have to leave out a couple less essential words, so that we get the more essential words of the sentence up on the screen as quickly as possible. So the two roles are really very different. Our job is instant streaming text. The transcript is a by-product. Court reporters -- their job is to provide the transcript. And if they provide the streaming text, if you can't read it, that's your problem. So it's interesting.

One problem is that sometimes court reporters think that they can do CART, just as easy as thinking. You know, some of them have been working for two, three decades. They've written every word that could possibly come up in a courtroom. They think that they're doing a really good job. Then they go out into a community setting, where the vocabulary is very different, where their responsibility is to make every word that comes up on the screen clear and readable and accurate, rather than all of that weird, wacky steno stuff that normal people can't read. And sometimes they crash and burn, because they simply don't have the skills to provide realtime, interactive transcription for the Deaf consumer. So our function is much more like the function of an ASL interpreter as opposed to that of a court reporter.

On the other hand, there is no official CART organization. We are certified under the National Court Reporters Association, because we do use the same machines, and because many CART providers used to be court reporters, and because the training is essentially the same, though honestly I don't think it should be.

I sort of try to explain this weird situation that we're in to interpreters like this: Imagine there were no RID, and in order to get certified as an ASL master-level interpreter you had to join the National Hand Models Association, because you know, you use your hands to make your living and do your job and they use their hands to make their living and do their job. And so you go to these National Hand Models Association conferences, and 90% of the conferences are these workshops on, you know, "How to Make Your Manicure More Photogenic". And then 10% of the workshops are, like, "How to Interpret ASL for Deaf People". That's what it's like being a CART provider in the National Court Reporters Association. It's really strange, and I'm hoping that it's a temporary situation.

Right? Because CART is such a new technology, and because there are so few of us, we're really in this sort of liminal situation. You know, lots of people have heard of interpreters. Lots of people have heard of court reporters. Not that many people have heard of CART.

Under the National Court Reporters Association, to get our certification, we need to pass a test of five minutes of dictation at 180 words per minute with 96% accuracy. And that's unedited. We're not allowed to go home or go in the other room, spend an hour cleaning up the transcript, and then submit the edited transcript. We have to just give 96% accurate realtime transcription at 180 words per minute.

Honestly, I think that's a pretty low baseline. But that's the only test currently used for CART providers. In my opinion, the test of a truly proficient CART provider is a rating of over 99% accuracy, ideally 99.1% accuracy -- or 99.9% accuracy. Which means one error or typo about every four pages. Which is honestly pretty hard to do. At rates of speed between 200 and 220 words per minute. I'm hoping that eventually someday there will be a National CART Providers Association, separate from the Court Reporters Association, that will give us different ratings and levels of proficiency, the way you guys have.

But we're such a small market. I actually shocked myself when I looked at these statistics. You guys might know that there are around 10,000 Certified ASL Interpreters, according to the RID website. That's nationwide. About 10,000 certified interpreters. I went onto the National Court Reporters Association website and searched their database of Certified CART Providers. In the entire country, there are only 282.

And what's even more shocking is that, when you think of the statistic I gave you earlier, which is that the vast majority of people who have hearing loss lose their hearing after they've already learned a first language, which means that the post-lingually Deaf or hard of hearing make up 95% to 98% of the people with hearing loss, and only around 2% of those people, 2% to 5%, actually know ASL and use ASL as their first language.

You'll see that there are way too few of us to go around. And another problem is that people who lose their hearing later in life, because they're not part of this long history and cultural tradition, the way culturally Deaf people are -- they don't have their own language, they don't have their own community -- there's a real stigma that they experience when they lose their hearing. Some people are ashamed. Some people want to sort of bluff their way through. They don't want anyone to know that they don't have the hearing that they used to have. They feel like it makes them old, or it makes them seem out of it or stupid. And many people who could really use accommodations like CART aren't stepping up and saying, "Listen, the ADA mandates that you provide CART for us. We need captioning. We need these accommodations."

Either they don't know that CART exists, because there are so few CART providers, they've never seen CART in action. Or they feel like they don't have the right to ask for this accommodation. And they don't have the community that the Deaf community has to support them, and to get them to self-advocate and to really insist on full participation in their daily lives and the tools that they need to achieve that. So a lot of education needs to happen.

KEITH: Mirabai, let's take another break. Hold off right there. We'll take another break. Hey, Wink, do you want to say something? Wink, right now the stage is yours. Really, Wink? Fine. When we come back, more with Mirabai Knight and StenoKnight Services.

>> This is That Keith Wann Show! Opening doors, shining the light, building bridges, educating us all. It's the CODA Man, Keith Wann, and we'll back with more, right after these!

PAULA: Hi, my name is Paula. I'm a trainer and a mentor, and I wanna tell you about three DVDs that Wink has made that are essential for your own toolbelt. Idioms: Do You See What I'm Saying, Tangible, and Blockbuster. They're a trifecta of skill building. They teach you how to interpret English idioms, those pesky things, into ASL. You also will learn how to use classifiers in a native signer's way, and finally, with Blockbuster, you get forced perspective, use of space, classifiers, eye gaze, all the things essential in looking as near native as possible. I encourage you definitely to make them part of your own learning experience, as well as your library, for mentoring others. You can get them at Wink's website,

>> If you need realtime captioning for a college class, business meeting, or cultural event, don't settle for less than a certified CART Provider. StenoKnight CART Services provides verbatim access for Deaf, late deafened, and hard of hearing people at up to 240 words per minute. Specializing in medical, technical, and graduate level work, onsite in New York City and remotely throughout the country. Learn more at

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>> Welcome back to That Keith Wann Show. He's here to help us with a cultural bridge between the Hearing and the Deaf, with guests from the American Sign Language community and others who are here to share, encourage, and to teach. Now let's get back to the show. It's That Keith Wann Show on Toginet. And here again is your host, Keith Wann.


KEITH: And that was the ABCs by my son Douglas. He'll be doing the CEU workshop next month. Wink is in the playroom right now, babysitting my kids, while I host the ASL radio show. So, Mirabai, growing up in my house, we always referred to this big green thing, the size of a washing machine, as the green machine. And, you know, I don't know how that thing worked. I think it was a diesel engine. You had to punch the keys down like one of those guys with the sledgehammer at the carny, and you won a prize if you typed the right word. You and I have had several dates. We've gone out for food, because we're social beings. And we gather around food. So we've had breakfast. We've had lunch together. Every time I go to New York, we make it a point to get together. You've got this huge, huge backpack. You're like -- what? You're 3'10", you weigh about 30 pounds, and you have this huge backpack. And inside there, you say, is your steno machine. And I'm like -- no way. So, first of all, please explain to us, as we get back into your workshop: How does this steno machine work? And how can it be something that you're able to carry around in your backpack? How does it work? The floor is yours.

MIRABAI: No problem. I'm always happy to talk about this stuff. I am a giant steno geek. Oh, and speaking of giant steno geeks, I would like to thank, once more, Stan Sakai of Superlative Realtime, for his fantastic captioning job. If you are in the Seattle, Washington, area, and you need CART or captioning, please check Stan out. He's great. And, of course, he can also provide CART through the internet, anywhere across the country. So thanks again to Stan.

So how does my steno machine work? It's actually pretty simple, but sometimes it can be hard to explain.

So if you guys are in front of your computers, open a new tab. Now, don't just type something into the chatroom address bar, because then you'll lose the captioning. So open a new tab or a browser window. And write: All right? I will wait. So I made a little page for you guys, sort of explaining how the steno machine works. And it's pretty interesting. It's a simple concept, but it's really, actually, very powerful. So if you're looking at that page, you can see that there's sort of a pair of ghostly hands on this keyboard, that's just about the same size and shape.

It's much smaller and more compact than a qwerty keyboard, and, in fact, that giant 26-pound backpack that I carry around -- only about 5 pounds of that is my steno machine. The rest is computers and cables and foot pedals, and all this other stuff. But steno machines are actually designed to be pretty small and efficient. They just fit the human hand. So you can see the left hand on that picture is writing the initial consonants of a word. The right hand is writing the final consonants of the word. The thumbs are writing the vowels. So this means that if you play a bunch of those keys at the same time, like playing a chord on a piano, you can write an entire one-syllable word in one stroke.

It's actually really cool. So in that example up there, we've got the word gauge, G-A-U-G-E, which is pronounced differently from how it's spelled, but since steno is largely a phonetic system, you just take that "guh" sound at the beginning. Your left hand covers that. You take the "juh" sound at the end. Your right hand covers that. And then the "ayy" sound is done by the thumbs. You put it together, you get "guh ayy juh". Gaij. One stroke, and out comes the word. If you guys want to try this concept out, I've actually embedded a little steno program in this webpage, if you scroll down a little bit. And a couple of little simple words that you can write. So I'm not going to go into the details, in case there are people listening who don't have their computer in front of them. But feel free to play around with this little virtual steno machine. And if you want some more information on how steno works, I'm currently trying to get more people to learn steno. Since there are 280 CART providers in the entire country, I want more people to join the field. So if you've got any questions, go to, or send me an email, And I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Steno is actually really fun.

So I think that's probably enough for the technical details. But let's go back into the relationship between CART providers and ASL interpreters, and also to that small sort of overlap area of people who might know ASL, or who might have had hearing loss all their lives, whether or not they know ASL. And some of whom might want interpreters, some might want CART, and some might want either one or both, depending on the situation. Someone in the chatroom mentioned: Some places won't hire CART, or sometimes it's even hard to get interpreters, if you read lips and converse one-on-one really well. And this is true. I've noticed this especially in the medical setting.

You know, if someone's first language is ASL, and they don't use their voice to communicate, it's pretty hard -- and if they don't have really proficient written English fluency -- even if they do, sometimes, it's hard to make a case that writing notes in longhand back and forth is a reasonable accommodation. But for people who either, you know, grew up with hearing loss, but who also spoke, or people who grew up speaking and then lost their hearing later on, a lot of times, doctors' offices and hospitals won't provide accommodations, because they figure -- you can speak for yourself, we can hear you just fine, and if we want to get any information to you, we'll write it down.

I personally think that that's not usually an appropriate accommodation, because, especially with very sensitive and technical medical situations, that person wants a verbatim account of what the doctor wants to say, not just some scribbled, abbreviated notes. But it's true. It can definitely be hard. Especially for people who don't, quote-unquote, "sound deaf" when they speak. Sometimes people are so good at negotiating at a variety of situations, so that people don't believe that they have a hearing loss, even when they might be completely at sea in one of these large lecture hall situations, or in a noisy room, or when they're coming up against material that they might be unfamiliar with, and they really need CART. Sometimes organizations will refuse to provide CART, because the person who's requesting it doesn't seem "deaf enough" to them. It can be a really complex situation.

But there's also the case where sometimes someone who doesn't use their voice to speak might want CART. And I sometimes get the question: What happens in that case? If I'm not fluent in ASL, if I'm not a certified ASL interpreter, and that person wants to say something, but they don't use their voice to speak, how do they get their point across? The answer is that usually I will tell them to just write the question on my computer, and then I'll read the question off the screen and voice it for them.

So in that situation, it is a little bit less efficient. Actually, quite a lot less efficient than the interactive back and forth realtime conversations that ASL interpreters can provide. But when someone really wants CART and they only have maybe a few things to say, it can be an okay accommodation. Honestly, I think more CART providers should learn ASL. And there are only two or three people I know of in the whole world who are certified both as CART providers and ASL interpreters, but I think it would be wonderful if that number increased, because there is definitely some overlap. There are some situations where CART providers are not interactive enough, where CART providers can't respond quickly enough to what their consumer wants to say, and they are at a disadvantage there.

So how far are we from break, Keith?

KEITH: Let's see here. Two minutes until the final break.

MIRABAI: Okay. Yeah, maybe I shouldn't start a whole new topic. I'm going to check the chat room to see if there's anything else. So someone else in the chat room said: Do you think while typing in steno? Or do you space out, just barely hearing, but let your hands just pull from your ears? That's a great question, and I think I can answer it.

KEITH: And that's how I interpret. That's my best interpreting, is when I check out. No, go ahead. Go ahead.

MIRABAI: I actually -- I think I can answer this pretty quickly. And it's actually really interesting, because I was fascinated by the CEU lecture about the process of interpreting. You know, when you take a sentence and you have to comprehend it, you have to rearrange it into ASL word order, you have to break it down, chunk it into conceptual meanings. CART providers, by and large, don't do that at all. We hear one word. We understand enough of it just enough to know that it's not a homonym that we have to differentiate, and then we just think of the steno, write the steno on the machine, and it comes out instantly. We don't have to rephrase anything. We're a direct conduit from spoken English to written English. So in a lot of ways our job is easier. It's less fatiguing mentally and physically than ASL interpreters' jobs. We're not as subject to RSI. That's one reason why we don't have to work in teams. We don't have to swap out every 20 minutes, because writing on the steno machine is much less physically strenuous than standing up there and signing. And it's also less mentally strenuous than translating something from one language into an entirely different language, with a whole different spatial grammar. But at the same time, it can be difficult to do. Especially when we run up against very hard words, long, obscure technical jargon. We're not at liberty to just sort of get the general concept down and put it into simple language. We have an obligation to get -- as fancy the words, as sesquipedalian as they might be, we have to get them all down. So in some ways, ASL interpretation is much harder than providing CART. In some ways, it's easier.

KEITH: Let's end there. Let's not end. Let's take a break. When we come back from break, we'll use some big words.

>> This is That Keith Wann Show! Opening doors, shining the light, building bridges, educating us all. It's the CODA Man, Keith Wann, and we'll back with more, right after these!

>> We want to welcome Windell Smith, supporter and volunteer of CODA365. Hello, Windell.

>> Hello.

>> Well, tell us the mission of CODA365.

>> Well, the mission of CODA365 is that we are the children of Deaf adults, and we want to promote pride in that, in our cultural identity, and to encourage other CODAs who are children of Deaf adults to use the native language of their parents. And that's American Sign Language. American Sign Language is a beautiful language. And it should be adopted into the family's communication, regardless if the child can hear or if the child is Deaf. CODA365 is a network. We want to support all CODAs, regardless of age, to promote education, awareness, and respect for American Sign Language and the unique culture that's a major part of our identity. We do that with shows, workshops -- just an endless amount of resources that we're building up right now, to provide the support that's needed. For more information, you can go to

>> Windell, thanks for being with us.

>> Thank you for having me.

>> Welcome back to That Keith Wann Show. He's here to help us with a cultural bridge between the Hearing and the Deaf, with guests from the American Sign Language community and others who are here to share, encourage, and to teach. Now let's get back to the show. It's That Keith Wann Show on Toginet. And here again is your host, Keith Wann.

KEITH: Oh, dear Lord, Wink. Wink, that was hilarious. During the break, Wink was just telling jokes to Mirabai and I. He's got a new... Wink, why don't you just go ahead and just tell them the joke? Come here! Oh, so really -- tonight you picked the night not to say anything? You're just gonna... Whatever, whatever.

MIRABAI: Well, Keith, he was inspired from when you met Penn and Teller. He's decided to be the Teller to your Penn.

KEITH: You got jokes! I think I'm taking you on the road. Hey, real quick. Or not real quick. Wow, this is our last segment here. I want to remind our interpreters, if you're listening to this, to earn CEUs right after the show. The post test will be available on the website, You just go on there, and you can download the post-test. Take it and earn CEUs. Also, if you're listening to this at another date, it's not the live show, you can still earn CEUs. So Mirabai, I used to live up in New York. Your stomping grounds. And I've interpreted on Broadway, and there's been CART. Is that CART at the Broadway places?

MIRABAI: Actually, that is prescripted open captioning. You don't use a steno machine. You just have the script, and you feed it line by line.

KEITH: I guess that confuses me. So if it's prescripted, that means that you get the script ahead of time, and you would have time to research problem areas, right?

MIRABAI: Yeah, and you can just use the regular computers for that, because you don't have to write everything off the cuff.

KEITH: So one time I was interpreting. Actually, no, no, no. I was doing West Side Story. Me, Alan Champion, my wife, Lynnette Taylor. The Dream Team. And one night -- we did it, like, for four nights in a row. One night there was a substitute person there doing the captioning. And I'm gonna use the universal term, captioning. And the songs in Spanish came on. Terms in Spanish came on, and when you looked up there, it just had "(Spanish)". And that was it. The next night, the regular person, captioner, did... Spelled out the words. If it was a word.... Like give me a word. Hola. They typed out H-O-L-A. They typed out the Spanish word. So why the difference? And what would you do in those situations?

MIRABAI: You know what? That was actually nothing to do with the captioners. I can tell you for a guarantee -- that was just a matter of which one got the script with the Spanish in it and which one didn't. And I totally don't blame the person who didn't have the script with the Spanish in it, because I'll tell you the truth. Very, very few people can do -- even if they are bilingual in English and Spanish, can listen to Spanish and put the English translation, or even take spoken Spanish and write in Spanish text. I'll tell you one thing, though. One of those very few people in the entire world is the guy who's captioning in the chat room right now. Stan Sakai of Superlative Realtime. He is fluent in Spanish, and he has a YouTube video of him listening to Spanish and writing in English in realtime. I mean, I don't know that he necessarily could have done it in the middle of West Side Story, where the words are flying fast and furious at 280 words a minute. But that prescripted open captioning is basically down to who gives whom the script and what the script has in it. That's not really a live situation. But I was going to talk about these circumstances where CART providers and ASL interpreters are onsite together, and they're both interpreting or captioning at the same event. I always love when I get to do an event with interpreters. First of all, I like to sort of sit and gossip with them and feel like I'm in the cool club, because most of my events are kind of lonely. You know? I'm sitting there by myself, and if anyone comes up to talk to me, it's to ask how they can buy the speech recognition software that I'm using, which is pretty frustrating. Because that's a whole nother show, but speech recognition software has nothing to do with how I do my job. Everyone assumes it does, though. It's very frustrating. Anyway... So when I get to work with ASL interpreters, we're able to sort of help each other prep before the event, because sometimes one of us will have gotten the email with the entire agenda and the name list, and we can share it with all the others, and during the event, I can actually experience that wonderful sensation that you guys do all the time, where you've got someone sitting and watching your output and feeding you stuff if you miss it. You know? If I have a typo, or if there's a word that I misheard or a name that I don't know, if an ASL interpreter is sitting there, and they're not the one currently signing, they can write down the right word on a piece of paper and hand it to me, and then I can fix it the next time it comes up, or they can sort of lean over and whisper it in my ear, and that's really valuable. And I'm always really grateful to interpreters for helping me like that.

Conversely, I've heard from a lot of interpreters who say that they use my CART screen a lot when they're signing. I remember there was one big event that I did for the New York Public Library, which was all about deafness, and it had a number of Deaf intellectuals talking about all sorts of stuff, and it was a very high-brow show. And one of the people up there was talking about Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein. And I, because I took four years of philosophy in college, happened to have put Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein in my steno database, so I was able to write it up there. Translated perfectly. I felt great. And I felt even better when later the interpreter said -- I'm so glad that I was standing next to the CART screen, because I could just look up there and fingerspell it right off the screen. Otherwise I would have had no idea what they were saying. So we can have this sort of symbiotic relationship. And often we still have this segregated consumer base in the audience. You know, there's usually a few people who are watching the interpreters. They might occasionally glance over at the captioning, but they're primarily focused on the interpreters, because that's their native language. And then you'll have a few people who requested the CART and are mainly looking at the CART. They might be studying ASL, if they recently lost their hearing, and they want to sort of join the Deaf community and learn how to band together with them and become allies. But by and large -- you know, I've been trying to learn ASL for three years, and I'm still not fluent. It's a very hard language to learn. Especially if you're a little bit older, which is when most people tend to lose their hearing.

So you have these late-deafened, hard of hearing people who requested the CART. And you have the culturally Deaf ASL-signing people who requested the interpreters. And for the first time, these people are now completely provided for, and they can get a taste of each other's accommodation. And what's even better is that all of the people in the audience who might have some hearing loss and might not even be aware of it -- you know, one in seven people have some kind of hearing loss, and when you get over 65, that number goes to one in three -- so there's a lot of people who have never heard of CART or captioning and have no idea how much they're actually missing until they see that big screen with the words up there, and the interpreters waving their arms around and getting everyone's attention. So we can really have a great relationship when we're working together, and as I said, there's no need to be threatened by CART providers or captioners.

We have no interest or ability to provide what you guys provide to your consumers. We can't give them that sort of native language support, just like you can't give native language support to people who lost their hearing at age 50. We're complementary rather than competitive experiences.

Now I want to take just a couple of minutes to talk about some alternatives to CART and captioning, that can be competitive with both CART and ASL interpretation. Because, to be frank, these are cheaper accommodations.

KEITH: And Mirabai, just so you're aware of time, we have three minutes. So the floor is all yours.

MIRABAI: Yeah. I think I can do that in just about one minute. You guys have probably have heard of Typewell or C-Print. These are text expansion systems. So while CART providers can do 180 to 200 words a minute, they can do around 140, maybe 160 words a minute. And they are much easier to train for. CART training takes anywhere from two to five years, whereas these training programs are one to two months. And they are much, much cheaper. And I've heard from both interpreters and other CART providers that sometimes people request either interpretation or CART, and they're offered these text expansion systems instead, which, if the speech is slow and low density, can sometimes be an appropriate accommodation, but if, on the one hand, the person needs an ASL interpretation, because they're not fluent or comfortable in written English, that's not an appropriate accommodation. And if the person needs verbatim access, if it's very high speed, high density material and getting only one out of three or four words isn't going to give them full access to the material, that's not an appropriate accommodation. But those are really the people who are able to compete on the basis of price. CART providers and ASL interpreters are pretty much on the same level when it comes to price. So we're just a matter of whatever the consumer would like for that particular situation.

So I think that's pretty much it. You know, I love working with interpreters. I love captioning for the show. I love learning more about the Deaf community. I love learning ASL. And, as you can probably tell, I also love talking on and on and on about how cool I think steno is. So I think we really do have a lot to learn from each other, and I think it's really great when we can talk and get together and help each other out. And I think that the profession of CART as a whole has a lot to learn from the profession of ASL interpretation. So I'm hoping that we can sort of follow in your footsteps and have our own organization, rather than just being under the umbrella of the court reporters. So fingers crossed that'll happen. I think that's all I've got to say.

KEITH: Give us your website.

MIRABAI: My website is, and Stan's website is So if you need CART or captioning, check us out and we will do what we can to help you. Thanks, Keith, so much.

KEITH: Thank you very much.

>> Y'all wave your hands. Look who's on! It's the CODA Man Keith, and he's Number Wann!

>> Now, you might think Wann's youth was sad, because he had a Deaf dear mummy and dad. But that ain't the case. It wasn't his fate. No, the Wanns never struggled to communicate! Wann don't trip, man. Never had a choice. So he transformed hands right into great voice. Deaf Brother Wann make many peeps laugh. Now the kids want to get Wann hot autograph!

>> Y'all wave your hands. Look who's on! It's the CODA Man Keith, and he's Number Wann!

>> Thank you for being a part of That Keith Wann Show on Join us every Wednesday evening at 8/7 Central for more from that CODA Man, Keith Wann. Keith is all about building Cultural Bridges that enhance understanding and establish trust between communities. Keith will have guests on each week, sharing their experiences, expertise, opinions, and personal lives with all of us to help us understand others. The topics and guests will come from the American Sign Language community or outsider guests who can share information bringing more awareness that can benefit us all. Guests will include ASL performing artists, interpreters, teachers, and other ASL community members. For more information on Keith and the show, go to his website: Then join us here again next week and listen with an open mind and willingness to learn, and help with that cultural bridge. It's That Keith Wann Show. Wednesday nights at 8/7 central on