[Athen] Dragon in Place of CART?

Mirabai Knight, CCP askeladden at gmail.com
Fri Aug 13 08:19:04 PDT 2010

As a CART provider, it shouldn't be too surprising that I wouldn't
recommend this course of action, but it would probably have more
weight if I just quote the Director of Disability Services at the
Pratt Institute in Brooklyn who spent $5,000 on such a system before
hiring me to provide CART services for the Institute three years ago:

"1) The Captioning training software was difficult to access and use,
and the training itself proved difficult and laborious.

2) A prospective captioner would have to put in literally hundreds of
hours of training just for the system to accurately recognize their

3) The process proved to be disruptive to other students in the classroom.

4) One captioner felt that the microphone setup was claustrophic.

5) I was having sign language interpreters trained on the captioning
system. At first the interpreters were eager to learn a new
technology, but as the training droned on and on, and when they used
it in the classroom and it was glaringly apparent that students didn't
derive the same level of cogent, expressive interpreting they'd had
with interpreters, the interpreters felt they were doing the students
a grave injustice. They all hated it and felt either they should be
left to do real sign language interpreting or that CART would be a
much better alternative.

6) The students felt the resulting transcript contained too many
errors and the lag time was too long.

7) The end result is that I have a $5000 Captioning System just
sitting in my storage room collecting dust."

-- Mai McDonald, Pratt Institute Disability Services. Posted with permission.

I have more details on the difficulties inherent in making voice
recognition technology work reliably in an academic setting here:

I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's much, much harder to get good
results than it's generally made out to be, especially in classes
containing dense or technical material.

Mirabai Knight, CCP, RPR, CBC
StenoKnight CART Services
917 576 4989
mkk at stenoknight.com

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