Live Professional Captions vs. CART Captioning: What’s the Difference?

February 11, 2022 BY KELLY MAHONEY
Updated: August 19, 2022


Learn how technology affects accuracy ⚙️


The demand for live video has necessarily taken the world by storm, as organizations increasingly look to virtual alternatives for hosting events. As a result, live captioning has also seen a spike in popularity, but the variety of methods available – including Live Professional Captioning and CART captioning – can make it confusing to know which is right for you.

Live captioning at a glance

Generally speaking, live captioning is the process of creating captions to describe spoken content that’s happening in real-time. There are many ways to accomplish this, but not all processes are created equal.

Automatic captioning solutions are often attractive as a more affordable, low-fuss method of live captioning, but actually have notoriously low accuracy rates (that could dip as low as 50%). While many believe that something is better than nothing when it comes to captions, the automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology that powers auto-captions is often proprietary, not market-tested, and simply not up to par with accessibility standards.

On the other hand, more accurate methods of live captioning include the use of a human captioner. Some examples of this include Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), which connects a stenographer to an audio feed so they can translate all spoken dialogue into text via a separate feed, or 3Play’s Live Professional Captioning, which relies on experienced voice writers to create high-quality, platform-integrated captions in real-time.

 Learn more about Live Professional Captioning 

What is CART captioning?

For a long time, CART services were understood to be synonymous with live captioning. Introduced in the 1980s, real-time stenography for creating open captions was known as Communication Access Realtime Translation, and it was revolutionary for its time. Captioner sits in front of computer with headset on

A CART stenographer is trained to listen to a live audio feed, and simultaneously transcribe what they’re hearing using phonetic shorthand. The transcript that is generated by what they type is then projected on a large screen or computer monitor that is visible to the entire audience. Many different vendors provide CART services, but communication is typically via email between the organization requesting captions and the captioner.

Since the development of CART captioning, the industry has continued to evolve and diversify, and more options for live caption generation continue to be introduced. The primary difference here lies in the delivery: CART captions are often delivered via a second screen or a streaming link to view live text.

How is 3Play Media’s Live Professional Captioning different?

With Live Professional Captioning (LPC), 3Play Media has created a disruptive new way to live caption. Our highest-quality offering for live captioning, LPC matches your event to a specially trained professional captioner who will voice write captions for your live event.

What sets our solution apart from other live captioning services is the unprecedented level of transparency and visibility offered by our all-inclusive account system – our platform tells you when your event has been matched with a captioner, enables uploads for custom wordlists or speaker identifications, and provides an efficient scheduling workflow that allows management of all live events from one location. As if that wasn’t enough, every LPC event includes a failover mechanism that defaults to 3Play’s proven Live Automatic Captioning to ensure that your event is never missing captions, even in the worst-case scenario if your captioner disconnects.

Learn more about captioning accuracy ⤵️


Read the state of ASR technology - learn how industry technology stacks up for captioning accuracy, and the latest trends in ASR software with link to download report

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