CART Captioning & Accessibility for the Workplace

The benefits of employing d/Deaf and disabled people go beyond a mere diversity checkbox. Undertaking inclusive and flexible leadership in the workplace enables a frequently-excluded cohort of highly motivated and skilled workers to access new opportunities and become fully integrated into society. However, to create a truly accessible workplace, businesses must assume responsibility for accommodating employees of all abilities and disabilities.

By providing sufficient accommodations, organizations support equal opportunity in the workforce and in result, reap rewards that these employees bring to the table with their invaluable skills. While there are several accommodations that can help d/Deaf and disabled employees, CART captioning has been recognized as a powerful tool for enhancing communication and advancing accessibility as a whole.

Leveraging Communication Access Realtime Technology or CART captioning software, businesses foster an environment where d/Deaf and disabled individuals can thrive and contribute their talent to the fullest extent. Diverse and accessible work cultures lead to long-term business success. Incorporating CART captioning as a standard practice aligns ethical practice with smart business strategy, and proves to be advantageous for both employers and employees.

Image of woman sitting in front of a laptop with a stenographer by her side.

Image Source: Agape Interpreting Services

Why CART Captioning Makes Business Sense for Employers

Compliance with Legal & Regulatory Requirements

Businesses are often required by law to provide equal access to information and communication for individuals with disabilities. Compliance with accessibility regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States is not only a legal obligation, but also an ethical responsibility. CART captioning ensures that organizations meet these requirements and avoid potential legal repercussions.

Supports Remote Workforce & Hybrid Environments

For businesses who embrace a remote or hybrid work model, CART captioning enables seamless communication and collaboration, especially for dispersed teams. Beyond serving as an accommodation for those with a disability, it allows businesses to ensure that everyone can actively participate and stay connected irrespective of their physical location.

In addition to bridging the geographical gap, CART captions make it easier for employees to follow discussions, contribute, and remain engaged in virtual meetings and conferences while simultaneously improving teamwork and strengthening core professional relationships.

Image of a man having a meeting with coworkers displayed on a screen in front of him.

Image Source: Let’s Roam

Improves Communication & Inclusion

For Deaf or hard-of-hearing employees, CART captions are transformative in breaking down barriers and fostering a profound sense of belonging. With everyone able to gain equal access to discussions, live captions lead to more effective collaboration and enhanced creativity.

Particularly valuable in meetings, conferences, webinars, and training sessions, where real-time information exchange is crucial, live captions empower individuals to participate in the discussion. As a result, efficiency and productivity levels within the organization improve.  

CART captioning also encourages autonomy, reduces the reliance on intermediaries, such as sign language interpreters, and enables direct communication. By improving communication between individuals who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing and their hearing counterparts, direct communication enhances efficiency, fosters better understanding, and promotes effective interactions in various personal and professional settings.

Increases Reach & Global Accessibility

The use of CART captioning in business settings opens doors to a global audience, for obvious reasons. Captions can be translated into multiple languages, to accommodate non-native speakers and break down language barriers. By offering the option for translation of several different languages, seamless communication becomes possible and language barriers decrease, facilitating unity among individuals from diverse linguistic backgrounds. With this multilingual capability, multinational corporations and businesses can successfully expand their reach in international markets, thereby broadening their customer base and increasing revenue potential.

Taps Into a Significantly Wider Talent Pool

By integrating CART captioning, employers unlock opportunities to work with exceptionally talented individuals, who might have otherwise been overlooked. Offering this type of accommodation demonstrates a commitment to accessibility, attracting qualified candidates who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing — and possibly other neurodiverse individuals as well. Providing real-time speech-to-text services ensures that these individuals can fully engage in the hiring process, interviews, onboarding, performance reviews, and company-wide communications. Access to a broader talent pool invites fresh perspectives and diverse skill sets, and also promotes a culture of inclusivity and innovation within the organization.

Two men dressed professionally sitting across from each other, signing.

Image Source: RHA Health Services

Enhances User Experience & Customer Satisfaction

Incorporating CART captioning into customer-facing platforms, such as websites and live chat support, improves user experience and customer satisfaction. Live captions that are used during live chat interactions or webinars cater to a wider audience and shows them that your business prioritizes accessibility. Customers appreciate the effort made to accommodate their needs, which can result in increased brand loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and a competitive edge.

How Disabled Employees Benefit from CART Captioning

Boosts Engagement & Learning

Studies have shown that adding captions to videos, webinars, and training materials significantly increases viewer engagement and comprehension, regardless of hearing ability. In fact, many individuals, including those without a disability, prefer to read captions either as a means to reinforce comprehension, overcome language barriers, when environments are noisy, or in circumstances where using audio isn’t appropriate. By utilizing CART captioning, businesses can enhance the overall learning experience and improve information retention among their employees, clients, and partners.

Easy to Record & Save

CART captioning solutions typically involve features that allow users to revisit the content at their own pace, ensuring they don’t miss any crucial information. For employees who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, it facilitates better retention of audio and provides a valuable and convenient resource for referencing important discussions or presentations. Likewise, for neurodiverse individuals who may have challenges with auditory processing or language comprehension, CART captions provide visual reinforcement.

Quote from an Ava user that reads: It’s quickly become apparent just how well your app works. It’s allowed me to do a job that requires constant communication with the public. It’s allowed me to branch out in ways I thought closed to me when I lost my hearing 20 years ago. Thank you! Kathleen Galbraith

Accommodation Flexibility

While some employees might solely rely on sign language interpreters, others may prefer reading captions. Offering real-time speech-to-text services gives Deaf or other disabled people an additional mode of communication so they can access information in a way that best suits their needs. Providing CART captioning in addition to other accommodations that may already be in place guarantees that each employee's needs are met, maximizing their potential and job satisfaction.

Professional Development & Training

With CART captioning, employees of varying abilities and disabilities are not left behind. Such solutions enable all employees to fully participate in workshops, seminars, and e-learning modules, ensuring that valuable knowledge and skill-building opportunities are not missed. By leveling the playing field, CART captioning empowers d/Deaf and disabled employees to pursue continuous growth and development equal to their colleagues.

Why Professional Captions Trump Automated Captions

While automated captions have gradually been tweaked to perform with perfectionism, they still fall short of human captioners. With a real person behind-the-scenes, CART or professional captioning solutions surpasses automated captions in terms of accuracy, reliability and overall quality.

Although automated captions generated by speech recognition technology have made significant advancements, they cannot always transcribe complex or technical jargon, tolerate and identify multiple speakers, or grasp heavy accents. CART captioning, on the other hand, involves a trained professional captioner who can capture nuances, context, and speaker identifications, resulting in highly accurate and contextually relevant captions.

Video Source: YouTube

For true accuracy, automated captions depend on the audibility and quality of the sound. With CART captioning, live captioners can fill in the gaps where automation fails. For example, if information is misunderstood, a captioner can easily ask for clarification when necessary.

When technology lags behind and automated captions can’t always keep up, synchronization gets compromised. CART captioning stenographers are trained to type quickly and handle fast-paced conversations.

The human element in CART captioning allows for real-time adjustments, ensuring that captions align with the ongoing conversation and provide an optimal user experience. CART captioning also provides a level of customization and flexibility that automated captions cannot match, catering to the specific needs and preferences of individuals with disabilities.

Unlike automated captions, providing employees with a CART captioning solution gives them the opportunity to experience full inclusion, promotes a positive work environment, and builds more respect for your business and brand.

CART Captions vs. Interpreters

Businesses looking to cut corners by hiring an interpreter exclusively instead of introducing a CART captioning solution may encounter accessibility issues.

Preferences for communication accessibility can vary among individuals who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. While some individuals gravitate towards American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary mode of communication, others find CART captions to be a more suitable accommodation.

Captions may not provide equal access for those who rely on sign language, as it is their natural language. On the other hand, individuals who have experienced hearing loss later in life may not be proficient in sign language and would benefit more from captions to actively participate in meetings, interact with coworkers, or access content. For a Deaf person or someone with moderate hearing loss, communication access with real time captioning for effective communication aligned with their cultural identity leads to employment success.

Relying on one solution may not offer adequate equity to all employees. Understanding and accommodating the diverse needs and preferences of individuals who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing or have other disabilities is key to fostering an inclusive workplace where every person can professionally participate and thrive.

Ava Alliance

Ava’s live captioning solution, Ava Scribe, combines AI with professional captioners (Scribes) to produce high-quality, real-time captions with superior accuracy and exceptional speed. The mobile and desktop application identifies speakers and accounts for accents, slang and complex, sector-specific terminology. The option to turn transcriptions on or off autonomously is another feature that sets it apart from other captioning services.

Whether it’s a meeting, networking event, training session, or just a casual lunch with colleagues, Ava's live captions are available around the clock. Ava Scribe also works with any and all video conferencing services, including Microsoft Team, Zoom, Google Meet, social media apps, and internal video platforms. Its ease of use and flexibility make it a convenient and reliable tool not just for people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, but for all employees in every workplace.

Ready to get on board? Schedule a demo today.