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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

Become a Relay Operator or Captionist

Excellent employment opportunities are available that promote communication access for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind and Speech-Impaired individuals. These jobs basically involve transcribing spoken communication into text for Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind people to read.

Relay Operator

A Relay Operator is the confidential, transparent link between hearing and deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and/or speech impaired callers. The Relay Operator voices conversation to voice users and types the conversation to TTY users.

The Relay Operator is not a part of the conversation. They must voice everything typed to the hearing person, even what is typed in parentheses. Also, they must type everything they hear, including background noises. The list of relay providers can be found at “What technology is right for you?”.

Computer-Assisted Note taking (CAN)

Computer-assisted notetaking is a technique that enables Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to participate fully in meetings and lectures with hearing people. Computer-assisted notetaker
Computer-assisted Notetaking
A notetaker uses a computer equipped with word processing software to type summary notes of a meeting or lecture. The notes can be projected onto a screen or wall for large groups, or simply displayed on a computer monitor if fewer people are relying on the notes.

CAN is an effective way of providing access for Hard of Hearing people and for Deaf people who are without sign language interpreters. In a previous study, 98% of the 120 hard of hearing people using CAN during a meeting found the notes helpful.

Communication Access Realtime Translator (CART)

Communication Access Realtime Translation is the instant translation of the spoken word into English text using a stenotype machine, notebook computer and realtime software. The text appears on a computer monitor or other display. This technology is primarily used by people who are Late-Deafened, Oral Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, or have cochlear implants. Culturally Deaf individuals also make use of CART in certain situations. Please keep in mind that CART is also often referred to as realtime captioning.

The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically recognized CART as an assistive technology which affords "effective communication access." Thus communication access more aptly describes a CART provider's role and distinguishes CART from realtime reporting in a traditional litigation setting.

For more information on CAN or CART services contact a Regional Center near you. Ready NC Connect NC