Speech-to-Text Services


Computer note-taking

is adequate for a summary of "facts only". Instructors generally speak at 170-220 words per minute. Notes generally do not indicate who is speaking, comments or asides that are made, questions from other students, etc. Refer to the Guidelines regarding the use of computer-aided note-takers.


is faster, using spelling abbreviations and summary notes, environmental cues (meaning-for-meaning vs. word-for-word). The transcriber uses a laptop computer and the student views the expanded text on his or her own laptop or personal device. The computer program automatically expands the abbreviations. Depending on the speed of the service provider and rate of the speaker, transcripts resemble real-time transcripts indicating changes in speakers, and meaning-for-meaning content presented in real time. Interpreters may be cross-trained as transcribers to work with students who also use American Sign Language. Explore further Transcribing information on the TypeWell and the PCAS web sites.

CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation)

is the live, word-for-word transcription of speech to text. Much like television broadcasting, the captioner uses a shorthand machine and specialized software. Individuals using the service read what is being said nearly instantly and with accuracy at around 97%. Service can be delivered either in group discussions, lectures, or other meetings. The equipment to view captions varies from a personal iPad to overhead projection, depending on what is required. CART captioning can be provided on-site or remotely, in both English and French. Service providers require a minimum of two years to graduate with 225 words per minute. Further training is required after graduation. Shortly after the event, the student receives a verbatim transcript. The captioner provides all equipment and software, but the student is welcome to use her/his own iPad if desired. See About tab in the following web site.

pepnet 2 (originally the Postsecondary Educational Programs Network a federally funded US-based network supporting deaf and hard of hearing post-secondary students)

provides resources and videos regarding various speech-to-text options.

Remote Speech-to-Text services

can offer support through phone and IP (computer) lines to areas when it is difficult to provide direct service. Communication is facilitated by the instructor's use of a microphone and an offsite interpreter, transcriber or CART provider converts speech to text and/or to ASL/sign. Remote services require up to date operating systems, a phone line, reliable internet connection, and an open port to pass through firewall protection. It may also require a web cam to provide visual support for overheads or other multimedia. The use of directional microphones may eliminate the need for a telephone link. Further information regarding remote TypeWell service is available at the TypeWell website.