Requesting and using CART (live captions) and sign language interpreters in live video 


  • What communication access accommodations have potential attendees requested? 
  • Do the speakers/panelists have any communication access needs?
  • Does your registration form have a line/space for registrants to share their accommodation needs?
    • If you don’t require registration, is there an event contact clearly listed on flyers and the website for accommodation requests?
      Suggested language: Please send any and all requests for reasonable accommodations to name at before Friday, June 1, 2023. 
  • Are you advertising your event far enough in advance for potential attendees to make a CART or ASL request with enough time to reasonably fill it?
    • Northeastern uses freelance interpreters so we recommend making ASL requests at LEAST three weeks in advance. Requests after that time frame will still be attempted to be filled. 
    • CART can be set up with shorter notice, at least one week out is recommended. 
  • What preparatory materials will be provided? This includes the agenda and any speaker names, drafts of remarks/bullet points, PPT slides, etc. This material helps give context and will result in more accurate communication access. 

CART/live captions 

“You’ve seen captions on television shows, Netflix, and in movie theaters. CART works in a similar way, transcribing and translating spoken text and sound into words. The text appears in realtime —while the words are spoken or played — on a big screen that everyone can see, on a laptop, or on a mobile device. Remote CART can also be streamed to an Internet browser.”

(Hearing Loss Association of America
  • CART is not automatic captioning. 
  • If you plan to have CART in your meeting, check your Zoom/Teams requirements to make sure CART can be displayed within that platform but also give attendees the website link if they prefer to view the full transcript.
    • Teams does not currently support CART in Live Events, only standard meetings and webinar formats. 
    • Zoom supports CART across multiple meeting types, please make sure captions are enabled from your advanced settings. (Zoom third party captioning service

ASL interpretation (or other signed language interpretation for Global campuses) 

  • ASL is not word-for-word translation of spoken English to ASL or vice versa. It is a recognized language with its own grammar and syntax.
    • English example: The boy climbed the tree 
    • In ASL: Tree boy climb 
  • Interpreters typically work in a team of two. The interpreter who is not actively interpreting will still be paying attention and feeding the active interpreter information they might not be able to see from a presentation or filling in missed information, as well as monitoring for accuracy. 
  • There is a two-business-day cancellation policy for contract interpreters. Any cancellation with less notice will be charged for the full time held.
  • As of the last update to this information, Zoom is DRC’s preferred platform for accessible events. Zoom allows spotlighting of interpreter and speaker—a best practice for linguistic access. If spotlighting is not used, the host can allow participants to pin the ASL interpreter; making them visible and large enough to understand. Please see below for instructions on enabling sign language view:
    • Zoom: Sign Language Interpretation View 
    • Teams: Sign Language View 

Requesting CART and/or ASL interpreters 

Once you’ve confirmed that CART or ASL interpretation will be available for your event, you can update the flyer/form/website to say something like “CART will be provided for this event” or *ASL-English Interpretation will be provided for this event.* Please wait to do so until after you’ve received confirmation that CART and/or ASL interpretation has been secured. 

ASL interpreters are not for show, they are present to provide a needed service. If you do not have confirmed Deaf attendees, the interpreters will interpret the first 20 minutes or so of the event, and check in with the audience to see if anyone identifies as needing 

Last updated May 24, 2023 by the Disability Resource Center at Northeastern University