Real-Time Captioning

Disability Services provides several real-time captioning options for students who have trouble understanding or hearing lectures and discussions in class and other meetings. To use real-time captioning, students must complete documentation with the Disability Services Office that supports the need for this accommodation. Students approved for real-time captioning will be asked to read the Real-Time Captioning Policy (PDF) concerning accountability when using real-time captioning at CU-Boulder, and sign the acknowledgement that they have read the policy. Students then give the accommodation letter provided by Disability Services to their professors, which explains about the real-time captioning being provided in class.

Real-time captioning provides an instant translation of spoken English into written English text, which is displayed on a laptop monitor in the classroom. This allows the student to read what is being said during the class session, both lecture and discussion. This is done by a captionist (see Role of Captionist) in the classroom who, using a stenograph or regular keyboard and special software, transforms what is said in the room into text, instantaneously creating a written transcript. There may be times when this service is provided by a remote captionist, who receives an audio signal from the room and relays the captioned text to the student through a website connection.

Types of Real-Time Captioning
The CU-Boulder campus provides three types of real-time captioning: Computer Aided Real-time Translation (CART), C-Print™, and remote real-time captioning.

CART provides a verbatim translation, or word-for-word, using a stenograph machine (see left), and a laptop computer customized with CART software. Below is an example of a segment of a lecture that would be displayed on a monitor.


INSTRUCTOR: We are talking about those personal factors. We are talking about my perception of roles in the family, and family roles were discussed in chapter 5. Yes? Do you have a question?
MALE STUDENT: Which page is it in chapter 5?
INSTRUCTOR: (COUGHING) It’s on page 127.

C-Print™ provides a meaning-for-meaning (not verbatim) translation of the spoken English content. A C-Print captionist who is specially trained in text-condensing strategies types on a laptop computer using an abbreviation system that requires fewer keystrokes. The text is displayed on a monitor. Below is an example of a segment of a lecture that would be displayed on a monitor.

C-Print™: We are talking about those personal factors such as my perception of roles in the family discussed in Chapter 5 on page 127.

Remote real-time captioning can be used for both CART or C-Print™. In this case, the captionist will attend the class on first day to provide you with real-time captioning. After that, the captionist will not physically attend the class but will work from a remote location and send the captioned text to the student in class via a website. In class, students read the captioned text from the captioning website on a laptop computer.

The type of real-time captioning received in each class will generally be determined by class schedules and the availability of captionists. You will be notified in advance regarding which specific type of real-time captioning you will receive in each class.

Role of Captionist

A person who provides you with real-time captioning service is called captionist. Both CART and C-Print™ captionists serve as communication facilitators between you and your professors or teaching assistants and other participants in classes and meetings.

The captionist will provide you with service only when you are present in class and will email you a completed transcript (see Transcripts below). The captionist will not participate in class, will not interject his/her opinion, and will keep all assignment-related information confidential.

Prior to the class, the captionist can review class materials on D2L, from professors or teaching assistants, or from textbooks to prepare the software in the computer, to improve accuracy by including specialized vocabulary for the course.


At the conclusion of each class, you will receive an edited transcript via email from your captionist within 24 hours. The transcript is a copy what was said and recorded in the class. On the first day of class, be sure to provide your captionist with an email address where you want to receive your transcript. You may use the transcripts as your class notes for your own studies, but the transcripts are not authorized for other use.

Submit Request for Real-Time Captioning

If you are approved for real-time captioning, please copy your class schedule for semester-long or session-long course(s) and email it to the Communication Access Coordinator as soon as you have registered, no later than 4 weeks prior to the first day of class. You must provide:

  1. Name of course

  2. Course number and section

  3. Day(s) and time of course

  4. Building and room number

The Communication Access Coordinator will confirm through email the status of your request.