Author Archives: Lydia Callis

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Including Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees During the Holidays

ways-include-deaf-employees-during-holidays-01The Holidays Season is generally regarded as a time of togetherness and good will. It is a time when we gather to eat, drink, and be merry with the many people who enrich our daily lives. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time when those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing are further marginalized at plays, pageants, parties, dinners, and other events when they are not able to access communications. These social gatherings— where stories, jokes, and common experiences are shared— are important for building rapport and creating strong relationships. Ensuring holiday events are inclusive for those with hearing loss is an easy way to embrace the true spirit of the season!


In situations where there is a lot of background noise (such as music or other conversation) or when there are multiple people speaking, especially all at once, those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing will struggle to keep up with conversation. After years of being excluded from conversations, they may fall back on smiling and nodding along, laughing when everyone else does, when in truth they have lost the thread entirely.


In professional settings it is extremely common for those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to be left out of Holiday events by coworkers and managers who simply haven’t even considered their abilities and limitations. While office parties and seasonal outings may not seem like a big deal, employees with hearing loss can miss chances to build personal bonds with coworkers, and lose valuable opportunities to network with new professional colleagues. In these settings, hearing employees gain an advantage because they are able to gain an understanding of professional dynamics and office politics by observing the subtle communications between peers and management, while those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing are left to fill in the blanks.


questions-answers-faq-deaf-employees-during-holidays-03Simply considering the fact that those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing have different communication needs is the first step toward creating an inclusive Holiday Season. Since deafness exists on a spectrum, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for bridging the communication gap; each individual has their own way of adapting to life in a predominantly hearing society. One person who is Hard of Hearing with cochlear implants might only use only verbal communication, while another may prefer American Sign Language. Some Deaf individuals use ASL, while others are exceptionally skilled lip readers who can voice for themselves.

As a rule, the best way to begin creating full communication access for those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing is to just ask those individuals how they prefer to be accommodated! This is an easy, yet often overlooked, way to develop meaningful connections. Involving employees in the process of creating inclusion can open up a dialogue about hearing loss and accessibility in the workplace that makes Deaf or Hard of Hearing employees feel respected and valued.

“I attempt to communicate with hearing and deaf people every day to break barriers,” Vicky Foster explains. “However, to have hearing people, who lack knowledge on Deaf culture, continue to exclude us from workplaces and social events instead of learning to communicate with us — they miss out on this unique and authentic culture of ours.”


A person with hearing loss is inevitably going to struggle to keep up with conversation at a holiday cocktail party in a dimly lit bar where 3 people are speaking at once in a room that has an echo. Taking into account the acoustics of a venue or the layout for an event can go a long way toward creating accessibility. For example, choosing a round table for dinner gives Deaf/ HoH individuals a better opportunity to read the lips, gestures, and facial cues of everyone around them. Selecting an adequately lit location where sounds do not bounce around can save Deaf/ HoH attendees a literal headache. Small adjustments like this can be made at little to no cost.

including-deaf-hard-hearing-employees-during-holidays-04For Deaf individuals whose primary language is ASL, a sign language interpreter will typically be the most effective means of ensuring communication access. Hiring interpreters can provide both Deaf and hearing staff with the ability to freely communicate during casual holiday gatherings, which demonstrates a commitment to including all team members in conversation. By recognizing that there are professional repercussions for being left out of social interactions, and addressing this issue head on, organizations can foster cultural awareness and cultivate space for greater diversity among their workforce and clientele.

On the other side of the equation, it’s critical to ensure that hearing employees are comfortable and confident interacting with a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing— especially if that person is their colleague!

“I have attended several [office] holiday parties- and always sat with my coworkers who were deaf or even socialized with our interpreters for the party,” says Diana Abayeva, a Social Worker who is Deaf. “No other hearing individuals socialized with us or asked us to participate in games. as a result of this, i do not enjoy attending holiday parties at work.”

Too often, those who are unfamiliar with the experience of hearing loss and Deaf culture aren’t intentionally excluding their Deaf/ HoH peers, they simply feel awkward and unsure about how to approach this person or hold a conversation. Once hearing employees understand that they can gently tap a person who is Deaf/ HoH to get their attention, that they may need to face Hard of Hearing individuals directly while speaking (and be prepared to repeat themselves!), or how to work with sign language interpreters, these staff members can start to really integrate.

ways-include-deaf-employees-during-holidays-05“My biggest struggles at work are centered on not catching everything, causing me not being able to participate as I would like to,” said Claire Scanlon, who is Hard of Hearing and uses primarily oral communication. “My inability to participate and prove my impact on the organization is severely affected by my inability to catch everything being said.”

By empowering all employees with the cultural awareness and tools they need to effectively bridge communication gaps, a business begins to establish a foundation for full inclusion. More professional networking opportunities and genuine connections can remove barriers to advancement, improve morale, and set Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees up for long-term career success!


We enjoy working with organizations of every type to find new ways to establish an accessible, welcoming environment for Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees during the Holiday Season, and every time of year!

Click here to learn more about Cultural Competency Training, or to refer a company for our training programs! We offer training from Deaf and Hard of Hearing consultants that can be custom tailored to meet the access and inclusion needs of any business. Our programs are offer results individually, or can be combined to create a comprehensive ongoing training program that can be streamlined into any existing organizational processes.

Mark Your Calendar: International Week of the Deaf

international-week-of-the-deaf-2019-1For more than 60 years, the global Deaf community has united during the last full week of September to raise awareness about Deaf culture, Deaf language, and Deaf issues. International Week of the Deaf 2019 will run from September 23 through September 29 and will be celebrated by Deaf individuals from hundreds of countries around the world!

International Week of the Deaf first began in 1958 as a commemoration of the first Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf. Recently added to this exciting week-long event is the International Day of Sign Languages, which is celebrated each year on September 23, marking the date that the World Federation of the Deaf was established in 1951.


The theme of this year’s International Week of the Deaf is: Sign Language Rights for All! According to the World Federation of the Deaf “the campaign theme ensures that no one in the Deaf Community is left behind. It calls for decision makers to give linguistic rights to deaf people and all sign language users.” It is the position of the World Federation of the Deaf, as well as the National Association of the Deaf, and most Deaf education advocates around the globe, that access to sign language is a human right for those who have hearing loss, and denial of sign language is a form of oppression. The WFD Charter on Sign Language Rights for All elaborates on this in great detail.


Time and again, studies have shown that there are only benefits for teaching signed languages to Deaf and hard of hearing individuals; particularly that early acquisition of a non-verbal language can help form neural pathways and mental processes that are critical for intellectual and emotional development in children. This year, WFD has assigned a specific sub-theme to each day. The schedule can be found below:


Monday 9/23: Sign Language Rights for All!

Tuesday 9/24: Sign Language Rights for All Children

Wednesday 9/25: Sign Language Rights for Deaf Senior Citizens

Thursday 9/26: Sign Language Rights for Deafblind people

Friday 9/27: Sign Language Rights for Deaf Women

Saturday 9/28: Sign Language Rights for Deaf LGBTIQA+

Sunday 9/29: Sign Language Rights for Deaf Refugees

For additional information on the importance of each day, be sure to check out the Guidelines on Achieving Sign Language Rights for All!


The week kicks off on the International Day of Sign Languages and dives deeper each day into specific populations. This will allow a more intersectional exploration of deafness and language rights issues within the extremely diverse Global Deaf Community. The following social media accounts may be posting updates, information, and discussions throughout International Week of the Deaf:

Official Hashtags: #IDSL2019 #IWDeaf2019

LCIS ( Twitter | Facebook )
National Association of the Deaf ( Twitter | Facebook )
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf ( Twitter | Facebook )
Deaf Women United ( Twitter | Facebook )
National Black Deaf Advocates ( Twitter | Facebook )
Rochester Institute of Technology – National Technical Institute of the Deaf ( Twitter | Facebook )
Gallaudet University ( Twitter | Facebook )
Why I Sign ( Facebook )

Language rights for those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is a topic that cannot receive enough coverage. The World Health Organization estimates that around 466 million people worldwide have a disabling hearing loss — about 5% of the population — and that number does not include those living with mild to moderate hearing loss. For too long, the communication needs of this community have been disregarded, and as a result decisions about their health, their education, and their lives have been made without their fully informed consent.

international-week-of-the-deaf-2019-6The truth is that Deaf / HoH people can achieve whatever they put their minds to when they are able to access the world around them. Renowned Deafblind advocate Haben Girma stands as a testament that there are NO limits for those with disabilities, except for the narrow minds of those who cannot imagine new ways to accomplish things. Girma is a graduate from Harvard Law School, a surfer, a salsa dancer, a world traveler, and a published author who has been Deafblind since childhood.

More examples of incredibly talented Deaf individuals can be found in any of the articles below!

world-federation-of-deaf-logo-intl-week-deaf-5As people continue to acknowledge and then disassemble the old structures of oppression which make assumptions about a person based on their race, culture, language, gender, age, sexual preference, or disability, hopefully we will begin to see communication accessibility woven into the very fabric of society. Communication creates connection, and what the world needs now is unity!

Why Cultural Competency Training Matters

best-cultural-competency-training-consultant-nyc-01The experiences of marginalized people are being shared more widely than ever thanks to social media. This is certainly true within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, where people from all backgrounds can utilize various platforms to connect with an engaged audience and publicly share their everyday lives, their success stories, and unfortunate personal experiences of injustice.

Sometimes incidents of discrimination can occur at a business, which then places that organization under scrutiny for practices that limit diversity. This could be a cashier who mocks a Deaf customer, such as this unfortunate example, or perhaps or a supervisor who doesn’t give their Deaf/ HoH employee a shot at promotion because there’s no verbal connection, nor interpreting services provided for professional development workshops.

top-ada-compliance-consultant-usa-02Every employee at an organization — whether they are in Human Resources, Customer Service, or Tech Support — serves as a public representative of that business. An employee’s behavior can have a direct financial impact, as well as a long term impact upon brand reputation. When employees receive the kind of training that enables them to make culturally competent decisions on the job, they are empowered with the tools they need to create and maintain productive relationships.

No one can speak to the trials and triumphs of a marginalized community better than a member of that community. The most effective Cultural Competency Training is facilitated directly by those who have firsthand experience navigating specific systems of oppression. Here at LCIS, we utilize the skills of Deaf and Hard of Hearing consultants to offer unique insight through our engaging cultural competency training programs. Employees are encouraged to ask questions and engage in candid dialogue with Deaf and Hard of Hearing consultants in an educational setting where confidence can be developed.

top-ada-compliance-deaf-HoH-low-vision-consultant-usa-03A thorough cultural competency training program can benefit any organization. By offering employees the opportunity and support to learn, inclusion efforts establish loyal relationships with employees and customers. Additionally, these professional development programs demonstrate a real commitment to social integrity. Effective cultural competency training fosters a more multicultural environment moving forward, where culturally competent HR managers are able to attract, hire, and promote talented candidates representing a variety of marginalized identities; which in turn welcomes even more diversity!

best-ada-compliance-deaf-consultant-new-york-04Proper cultural competency training is an investment in the very foundation of an organization. By offering employees these opportunities and support to grow, companies can build awareness right into their corporate culture. As some businesses discover the hard way, it’s much better to get ahead of social progress than to fall behind and risk having employees without training representing the company in a way that is not true to its values.

Click here to learn more about Cultural Competency Training, or to refer a company for our training programs! We offer customized training from Deaf and Hard of Hearing consultants to help organizations of any size develop meaningful connections with the Deaf and HoH community: including employees, customers, and clients.

So You Want to Be A Deaf Interpreter?

steps-to-becoming-asl-sign-language-interpreter-01American views on disabilities are slowly evolving, and our society is finally beginning to acknowledge and accommodate the diverse needs of a diverse population. Because mainstream awareness about the Deaf community is on the rise, Deaf interpreting is a growing career field with increasing demand. There is a shortage of Deaf Interpreters, even in major cities!


Deaf interpreters are in a unique position, with one foot in the Deaf world and one foot in the Interpreting world, which makes them highly qualified communication specialists. These individuals have completed an interpreter training program, and most have higher education degrees ranging from BA to Masters in related fields.

how-to-become-sign-language-interpreter-02Working as a team with a hearing ASL interpreter, Deaf Interpreters are used to facilitate effective communication in situations when linguistic and cultural differences can be challenging to overcome— for example, communicating with a Deaf person who has limited language skills, or a Deaf individual who has experienced severe trauma. Deaf interpreters are also used in situations when the inherent position of social power that a hearing interpreter occupies can interfere with the true message a Deaf person is trying to convey. This could occur in court rooms, hospitals, police stations, human welfare settings, and so on .

Deaf Interpreters can be the best option for communicating with Deaf people who use a specific regional dialect, or foreign individuals for whom ASL is a second or third language. Deaf Interpreters are a great choice for communicating with Deaf children, individuals with learning, intellectual, or other physical disabilities, or those who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

While most ASL interpreters are specially trained hearing people with fluency in American Sign Language and a strong understanding of Deaf culture; Deaf interpreters are typically native sign language users who have the actual lived experience of deafness.


certified-asl-sign-language-interpreting-job-court-legal-setting-03In 1998 the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) established a certification program for Deaf Interpreters as part of the organization’s effort to create and uphold professional standards of quality. Those who acquire the RID credentials are known as Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI).

“Holders of this certification are deaf or hard of hearing and have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of interpreting, deafness, the Deaf community, and Deaf culture,” according to the RID website. “Holders have specialized training and/or experience in the use of gesture, mime, props, drawings and other tools to enhance communication….CDI has an extensive knowledge and understanding of deafness, the deaf community, and/or Deaf culture which combined with excellent communication skills, can bring added expertise into both routine and uniquely difficult interpreting situations.”

RID endorses the use of CDI to help ensure the following:

  • Optimal understanding by all parties.
  • Efficient use of time and resources.
  • Clarification of linguistic and/or cultural confusion and misunderstanding(s).
  • Arrival at a clear conclusion in the interpreting situation.


how-be-asl-sign-language-interpreter-for-medical-hospitals-04“I always like to meet people and thought about being an interpreter,” explains pre-certified Deaf Interpreter Aleksandr Rozentsvit. “I like to challenge myself sometimes, and working how to make sure the client gets my message. Also I like to go to new places and being an interpreter ventures out to new places that I haven’t been before.”

Pursuing a career as a Deaf Interpreter can be a great option for people with hearing loss who have a passion for communication! It is a job that offers variety and constant opportunities for growth. But HOW TO get started?

1. Develop knowledge and skills in interpreting

When you are just getting started, it’s crucial to practice, practice, practice! Attending interpreter workshops and training events, such as the ones hosted by Gallaudet University, Deaf Interpreter Workshops, or other private programs, will help build your experience and understanding of the field.

how-to-become-certified-sign-language-interpreter-educational-settings-05Additional resources for training include the Deaf Interpreter Institute, which is “a learning, sharing, and networking site for Deaf Interpreters (DI), interpreters who work with Deaf Interpreters, DI educators and mentors, interpreting education program faculty and administrators, and people who use the services of DIs.” The Deaf Interpreter Institute has also created a National Consortium or Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC) Deaf Interpreter Curriculum Manual, which is a thorough and comprehensive guide for those looking to take steps on the path toward this career.

Deaf individuals may enroll in an Interpreter Training Program (ITP) at a University. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf maintains information regarding interpreting education programs and they have a database or post-secondary programs that is searchable by State.

2. Check all CDI Knowledge eligibility requirements

The next step is becoming RID Certified. Certification demonstrates a commitment to upholding the professional standards set forth by RID, and CDIs are often requested for sensitive settings, such as medical emergencies and legal cases.

The CDI Knowledge Exam Eligibility Requirements are as follows:

a) Submitting 40 Hours/4.0 CEUs of Interpreter Training.

b) 8 hours/0.8 CEUs required on the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct – Recommended topics include: Ethical Decision Making and Ethics in Interpreting.

c) 8 hours/0.8 CEUs required on the Introduction to Interpreting – Recommended topics include: Interpreting 101

d) 8 hours/0.8 CEUs required on the Process of Interpretation – Recommended topics include: The Deaf Interpreter at Work, Deaf/Hearing Team Interpreting, Deaf/Deaf Team Interpreting, Interpreting for Deaf Blind consumers, Deaf Interpreting Processes, Deaf Interpreting Theory and Practice, Consecutive Interpreting, Simultaneous Interpreting, Sight/Test Translation, Visual Gestural Communication, and Platform Interpreting.

e) 16 hours/1.6 CEUs required on the elective(s) of your choice – Recommended topics include: ASL Linguistics, Mentorship Programs, and Interpreting Practicum, Additional training in any of the required content areas above.

f) Effective June 30, 2016, Deaf candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

3. Pay for CDI Knowledge exam

The Center for the Assessment of Sign Language Interpretation, LLC (CASLI) was established in June 2016 by RID to take over the administration, development, and maintenance of exams. Those pursuing certification will need to be in communication with CASLI once they are prepared to take the CDI Knowledge Exam. Applicants must also “submit an audiogram or letter from audiologist and proof of meeting the 40 hour training requirement to RID.”


RID staff will review training documentation within 10 business days. “After approval of the 40 hour training you will see the button to “Register for the CDI Knowledge Exam” in the yellow tile on your account.” Alternatively, applicants may send a hard-copy application with payment to CASLI.
CASLI recommends applying to take the exam at least five weeks in advance to ensure time for the application and registration process, including all required documentation.

The costs for the CDI Knowledge exam are $225 for RID Members, and $280 for non-members. The cost for an exam retake (within 5 years) is $165 for RID Members, or $190 for non-members.

4. Verify Access to Authorization To Test (ATT) Letter

Your ATT Letter serves as proof of eligibility to take the exam. Verification can be done via the CASLI website, access your ATT Letter by logging into your account and clicking on “Download ATT Letter” in the yellow tile titled “Certification Application Status.”

5. Schedule CDI Knowledge Exam with Test Site

The CDI Knowledge Exam is a written exam taken at a CASLI test site, which are located all across the country. Applicants must contact the CASLI test site of their choice to schedule the exam. A Test Administrator will confirm the appointment and provide further instructions on reaching the test location.

6. Take CDI Knowledge Exam


The CDI Knowledge Exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and is administrated in both English and ASL. All answers are recorded on a Scantron sheet, and candidates have up to 3 hours to complete the exam. Per CASLI “The CDI Knowledge Exam tests for knowledge appropriate to an interpreter holding national certification and covering, professional roles and responsibilities, preparation for service delivery, provision of service, and post-service closure.” A score of 72 or better is required to pass the exam.

On the day of the exam, candidates must bring a hard copy of their ATT letter as proof of eligibility, as well as any applicable methods of identification.

The results of the CDI Knowledge Exam will be reported to candidates within 30 days of the test date. Those who fail the exam can take it again after a 6 month waiting period at a reduced price. Those who pass the CDI Knowledge Exam should contact the RID Certification Department regarding the requirements needed to meet the current CDI Bridge Plan for temporary CDI credentialing.

Per CASLI, “if you meet all the requirements of the CDI Bridge Plan, RID will award you temporary CDI crediential and enroll you in the Certification Maintenance Program. In addition, you will also be under the jurisdiction of the Ethical Practices System”

There is currently a moratorium on the CDI Performance Exam, While RID evaluates the Risk Analysis of the certification program there will be no Performance Exam offered. However, once the new Performance exam is launched, candidates who have passed the knowledge exam within 5 years and meet RID’s educational requirement may then take the CDI Performance Exam. The CDI Performance Exam is a videotape assessment.


different-options-steps-for-asl-training-deaf-07Deaf interpreters might find themselves working in a wide variety of scenarios, interacting with diverse people from all walks of life. Most commonly CDI services are requested in medical settings, mental health settings, or situations where a deaf individual is engaging with the criminal justice system.

“It’s like a roller coaster,” says Aleksandr Rozentsvit. “Some days are extremely busy while some days are so quiet.”

Since Deaf Interpreters usually work as freelance contractors, they are afforded the flexibility of maintaining their own schedules. Those working in or near larger cities will often find more opportunities for work, but Deaf Interpreters who are willing to travel a bit will find that their services are needed all throughout the country. Those who have the skills, patience, and tenacity to get out there and network themselves have the possibility of finding success in a growing field.

Rozentsvit offers this bit of advice for those just starting out: “ROADBLOCKS! Plenty of these ahead when you start in the field of interpreting. Don’t get dismayed if people [are] not offering you enough tasks. Build your reputation as you go through your journey. You will face some challenges and explaining about the benefits of having a deaf interpreters. There are some interpreters/clients that doesn’t know about deaf interpreters and you will expect that during your tasks sometimes. The better your reputation is; people will start reaching out and your experience will grow.”

As society continues to redefine its relationship with disabilities, those who have been marginalized for so long are gaining more power to advocate for the rights, needs, and capabilities of their respective communities.

Deaf Interpreters bring valuable insight and critical perspectives to the interpreting field. These professionals enable a cycle of Deaf empowerment, where Deaf people are gainfully employed in support of other Deaf individuals. At the end of the day, nobody understands the communication needs of those who are Deaf better than other Deaf individuals!

LCIS is thrilled to offer services from Deaf Interpreters all throughout the greater NYC Metropolitan region. Contact us today to Book an Interpreter!

LCIS is also actively seeking Deaf Interpreters to join our interpreting team! We strive to provide Deaf interpreters as often as possible in appropriate settings. If you are a Deaf Interpreter interested in working with LCIS, please submit a resume and cover letter to:

Realtime Captioning Services For Events: What is CART?

cart-services-for-deaf-real-time-captioning-top-asl-agency-nyc-01Live captioning services can provide those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with full access to presentations, lectures, or videos that they would otherwise struggle to understand. But really: every attendee at an event can benefit from captioned content!

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) — more commonly known as Live Captioning, or Realtime Captioning — is the instant translation of spoken word into text using a specialized set of skills and equipment.

According to Mirabai Knight, the owner of Stenoknight who has been providing professional captioning services to businesses and organizations for over a decade, the goal is “to provide realtime text transcription with as little delay as possible, as close to verbatim as possible, including sound cues and omitting filler words (like ‘um’ and ‘uh’), under the guidance of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer.”

The result is precise captions which can be displayed on an individual’s computer monitor, projected onto a screen, combined with a video, or otherwise transmitted for audience accessibility. Realtime Captioning service can be employed as an auxiliary aid in certain situations to ensure equal access for those with hearing loss, as guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If a person’s preferred means of communication is sign language, captioning can be used in tandem with ASL interpreters to ensure full access for the Deaf individual.


live-captioning-services-for-events-tri-state-east-coast-nyc-02Imagine attending an all-day conference where you’re extremely interested in the topics being discussed during the presentations, but you keep missing important bits of information making it difficult to keep up with the lectures. Perhaps your mind is fatigued after several seminars, or the presenters speak very quietly, or you missed breakfast and just can’t focus.

Most people have been in a situation where— for one reason or another— they were not able to follow along with a presentation. This can be a frustrating experience and, for those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, an unfortunately common one.

Approximately 15% of American adults, or 37.5 million people aged 18 and over, are currently living with some level of hearing loss. This is a significant percentage of people who might be sitting out there in the audience, either working overtime to understand the presentation, or completely disengaged because they can’t hear a thing.

As Knight explains, “post-lingually deafened or hard of hearing people who don’t sign fluently or at all tend to benefit most from captions, though signing Deaf people in highly technical or medical fields sometimes prefer realtime captioning either as an adjunct to sign interpreting or by itself in certain specific scenarios.”

Now take into consideration the number of individuals in the audience who may have learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, or other conditions which could limit their ability to hear or focus in a crowd. There may be audience members for whom English is a second language, or a speaker with a strong accent that makes them hard to understand.

Without captioning, how many attendees are really missing the full impact of each presentation?


captioning-services-court-reporting-agency-03Providing Realtime Captioning is an easy way to increase the accessibility of an event, conference, or presentation for all audience members. Studies have shown that captioning improves both comprehension and engagement, as viewers spend about 40% more time watching captioned video. Realtime Captioning is a worthwhile investment because it offers presenters the opportunity to connect with a greater portion of the audience in a more effective manner.

Captioning providers are sometimes called stenographers. Stenographers are professionally trained to transcribe spoken language to shorthand, which is then turned into realtime text using specialized software. They strive to faithfully communicate the intention of the speaker and maintain the integrity of the message.

Professional Realtime Captioning providers are certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) and bound by a code of professional conduct, which includes ethics and confidentiality. The NCRA was created in 1937 to establish a national set of standards and best practice, and they offer a variety of certifications for various settings.

nyc-real-time-captioning-infographic-top-asl-agency-04Knight offered to share a bit of insight into the type of training and experience that stenographers accumulate. “I spent a year and a half in court reporting school attaining a speed of 225 words per minute with 95% non-realtime accuracy, but before I started I knew I wanted to do realtime captioning exclusively, so at the same time I was using my steno machine for offline captioning at a small television captioning company and rigorously training my realtime skills as I built speed.

“When I earned my speed certificate, I worked under an experienced captioner in a university for a year before striking off on my own, and earned the Certified Realtime Captioner (then the Certified CART Provider) certification soon after. I’ve continued to hone my skills in the 11 years since I began captioning professionally, earning the 260 WPM Registered Merit Reporter certification, specializing in medical and big screen technical conference work, and doing my best to seek out the most high stakes and challenging material I can find.”


top-CART-realtime-live-captioning-services-for-presentations-events-corporate-nyc-ct-nj-05There are two types of Realtime Captioning Service frequently used to accommodate the needs of those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing during presentations.

  • Projected CART: Captions are created in realtime by the provider utilizing their steno software, and the text will appear directly on the presentation screen or monitor. This requires the venue or event planner to provide a display connection and extension cord.
  • One-to-one CART: This is best when there is only one consumer who needs captioning service, typically in a smaller venue like a classroom. The Realtime Captioning provider translates the spoken word into text and it is live streamed to the consumer’s laptop or mobile device via WiFi.


Since Realtime Captioning is such an effective way to improve communication access at conferences or events, it’s a good idea for venues and organizers to get a contract on file with a local agency that provides captioning service. Having an existing relationship with a provider makes the process of requesting services much smoother when the time comes!

live-captioning-services-cart-technology-mobile-info-faq-contact-05There are less than 650 currently NCRA certified and registered professionals working in the United States with a variety of specialties— this can put providers in short supply. Making requests for Realtime Captioning (CART) service with 14-30 days lead time, and providing the agency as much prep material as possible in advance, will help ensure coverage from a qualified stenographer.

Request the start time at least 30 minutes prior to the start time of the actual presentation to allow for technical setup. On the day of service, the stenographer will arrive on site with their equipment and software and will work along with the AV team and organizers at the venue to make sure both they and the consumers are in the correct place.

After services have been provided, be sure to check in with the consumers to gather feedback on the quality of captioning and be sure to contact the agency for followup if necessary!

LCIS is thrilled to offer CART Services to meet the Live Captioning needs of clients in the new New York City metropolitan region and New Jersey for a wide variety or entertainment or professional events. We make the process for securing CART Services and providing equal access as simple as possible. LCIS offers quality services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers with a strong emphasis on client satisfaction. Call us today at (917) 210-5804.

5 Deaf Accessibility Solutions We Hope to See in 2018

Our society was designed from the ground up to accommodate the needs of able-bodied individuals, so there are times when everyday situations can become a struggle for those who are deaf. There are barriers to basic access that limit the rights and freedoms of those who can not hear, subtly perpetuating an existing structure of… Continue Reading

Accessibility for Medical Practices

I can recall a number of times throughout my childhood when my mother and siblings were turned away from receiving medical care simply because they were deaf. Sometimes they would arrive to a scheduled medical appointment where there were just no interpreters or accommodations, or other times they’d be denied the opportunity to even schedule… Continue Reading

Happy Holidays from LC Interpreting Services

The holiday season is a great time to build meaningful connections and find new ways to communicate. This year, we’d love to help the hearing population learn to spread a little Holiday Cheer to their deaf friends, family members, customers, or just complete strangers! In the accompanying Video Blog, Tiffany will demonstrate the following holiday… Continue Reading

Emergency Management Systems Neglect Deaf Citizens

During an emergency, it is important that people know what is happening, when it will happen, and what steps they are expected to take. Traditional information channels leave dangerous gaps in communication— at the first signs of crisis, d/Deaf and hard of hearing people are forgotten. While America continues to reel in the wake of… Continue Reading