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ACS Featured on Chicago's ABC 7 - Disability Issue

Voice-to-text services increase in popularity

Karen Meyer - WLS-TV

March 6, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Technology continues to provide better access to communication for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Voice-to-text services are one of the fastest growing technologies for the hearing impaired community. It can be provided on-site or remotely.

The staff at Alternative Communication Services demonstrates two different voice-to-text services.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) transcribes every word, while Typewell or text-interpreting provides meaning-for-meaning translations for transcripts of English text.

CART and TypeWell, text interpreting, can be done on site as well as remotely.

"In the actual communication access real-time translation, or CART, is usually performed by a trained court reporter. Court reporting is the base skill," said Philip Hyssong, owner of Alternative Communication Services. "Text interpreting is a meaning-for-meaning translation not verbatim but meaning for meaning that's done on a standard QWERTY keyboard with abbreviations."

These services are in demand.

"Primarily because students have been mainstreamed for quite a number of years now and the exportation is almost becoming universal design," Hyssong said.

The main components for the service are computers and internet access. If services are provided remotely, a phone is needed for a captioner to hear the audio.

Mike Cano is a captioner and he says training is essential.

"There is a training program involved for text interpreting," Cano said. "As opposed to becoming a court reporter or a CART provider, to become a captioner takes anywhere from three to four years."

CART providers must learn how to use a steno machine. Text-interpreting uses a standard keyboard.

Bill Graham uses CART services but has his preferences.

"I prefer remote captioning over on-site captioning because having an on-site captioner there I feel a little bit uncomfortable just having another person in the room and with remote captioning it's just me and the computer and I feel more comfortable using remote captioning for that reason," Graham said.

"We 're often told that voice recognition is going to take over this industry because we're human-based and not machine-based but we have not seen that happening number one, and number two, vocabulary is so unique depending on the need for that voice recognition to take over that really needs to grow significantly," Hyssong said.

There is also a cost differences between CART and TypeWell -- Typewell costs less.

(Copyright 2011 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)