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Real-time captioning is a service that transcribes spoken words into text in real time. It is often used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing but can also be helpful for people who are not fluent in the language being spoken.

Many people consider real-time captioning an assistive technology, but some disagree. In this article, we will explore both sides of the argument and come to a conclusion about whether or not real-time captioning should be considered assistive technology.

What is Real-time Captioning?

Real-time captioning is also known as communication access real-time translation (CART). It is a live transcription of the spoken word displayed on a TV, computer screen, or projector. The text can be captured using various methods, such as stenography, speech recognition, or typed out phonetically. Real-time captioning is often used in educational settings to provide access to lectures and other presentations for deaf or hard-of-hearing students.

It can also be used in business meetings and conferences, webinars, and other events where it is important to capture the spoken word. In recent years, real-time captioning has also become popular for providing live captions for television shows and sporting events. This technology is essential for ensuring everyone has equal access to the spoken word.

What is the Definition of Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology (AT) is any type of technology that can enhance the functional abilities of individuals with disabilities. AT can be used to improve communication, learning, and mobility and increase independence in daily activities.

Some common examples of assistive technology include adaptive computer software and hardware, communication devices, and adapted vehicles. AT can be purchased commercially, leased, or manufactured according to an individual’s specific needs.

Federal law requires that public schools provide AT to students with disabilities at no cost to the parents if the student must benefit from his or her educational program. In addition, many states have Assistive Technology Resource Centers (ATRCs) that loan equipment to individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers.

The use of assistive technology is a growing trend in today’s society. As our population ages, there is an increasing need for AT services. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, about 50 million Americans have some type of disability.

Of these individuals, 26 percent use AT devices regularly. It is estimated that the market for AT will continue to grow at a rate of 5 to 7 percent each year. This growth is due in part to advances in technology and increasing awareness of the benefits of AT. As more people learn about the available options, they are more likely to seek services that can improve their quality of life.

Is Real-time Captioning Considered Assistive Technology?

Yes, real-time captioning is considered a type of assistive technology, as it provides individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing access to live events. It is also sometimes used by people who are unable to speak.

Although some people argue that it does not meet the definition of assistive technology because it does not address a specific impairment, others contend that it does indeed qualify as assistive technology because it provides individuals with disabilities with an equal opportunity to participate in live events and also aligned with the FCC requirements.

But not only the real-time version is considered AT but closed captions that become a must-have feature in many houses in the US.

Ultimately, the classification of real-time captioning as assistive technology may depend on its use. Still, the bottom line is that it does consider such, and it’s important for many individuals.

How Can You Use Real-time Captioning?

If you are interested in using real-time captioning, a few different options are available. You can purchase a portable device that will provide live captions for events you attend or use a streaming service that supports this, like Netflix. You can also use software that will provide live captions for events you watch on television or online.

Several apps provide live captioning for phone calls, video chats, and other types of communication. These apps use voice recognition technology to provide accurate captions in real-time.


Real-time captioning is a type of assistive technology that can be used to provide individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing with access to live events. It can also be used by people who are unable to speak. We should embrace this technology and continue to find ways to make it more accessible to everyone.