*Computer Assisted Realtime Translation (aka CART) is a live process. You write words at that precise moment that someone is speaking --- like classroom lectures, press conferences or breaking news. It is a very specific skill. The need for qualified, skilled Court Reporters, CART Captioners and Broadcast Captioners who love what they do continues to grow exponetially with the rising technology and need, making the demand to have it filled more important every day.
I know that a lot of you have read some of what follows before. I still like that I can say how I came to be here. It's important to me, so I'll leave it in. But I do want you to also know personally this past year has been an especially challenging one for me. Continuing my being a part of this is helping with some of those struggles. And many of you have been there for me all along the way. So thank you for that.**
It took me a long time to realize what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was inspired by a good friend to become a Court Reporter. But deep down, I knew it would evolve into something bigger, something that would impact the lives of others.
So I promptly registered for school and I was on my way. While I was in Court Reporting school, the unthinkable happened. I fractured my left wrist in an irreparable way. The prospect for my full recovery and return to my writing lessons was bleak. No more awesome little machine.
I was unable to write on my machine for two years. But that didn’t stop me. During my rigorous physical therapy, I honed my *CART skills. I reasoned that when my wrist was ready, I’d be able to write again.
After my recovery, I did a lot of volunteer steno writing for different expos and conventions, facilitating communication for those attendees who were deaf or hard of hearing. (I’ve been able to write thanks to a custom steno machine I found during this time.) My volunteer work was soon recognized by the firm owner of a captioning company. She came up to me and said, “You can do this. Want a job?” I was hooked.
That was my “Ah-ha” moment. I could now make a difference in the lives of people with many variations and levels of hearing loss. I realized how magical it was to be able to listen, and through my moving fingers, have words flow onto a screen for everyone to read. I was a crucial part of their education and everyday life. I would caption wherever the spoken word needed to be “heard.”
I was on the Advisory Committee at my Court Reporting school, which is where I met my future boss. That was when I started my professional life doing what I love. I’ve built a successful career thanks to my crazy little machine. I wasn’t writing words, I was facilitating learning and language. I’ve now been a CART Captioner at UCLA for over 20 years. I’ve watched the students I’ve worked with become doctors, lawyers, including everything in between and beyond.
Unfortunately, I have developed a hearing loss. It is now a part of my daily life. I struggle to hear what is being said and work to keep my damaged wrist up to writing speed. At times, it is exhausting. But, I will continue to help people get an education and participate in meetings, conferences, wherever I’m needed, for as long as I am able. I am now also a part of the hearing loss world.
This is why I’m walking in Long Beach on June 10th.
Hearing loss is the No. 3 chronic health issue in the US today.
48 million Americans are currently identified with hearing loss. And the numbers continue to grow at a very rapid pace. Because I am now one of the 48 million, I grasp the critical nature of remaining in the mainstream alongside my husband, colleagues and friends.
This is a very important to me. Please consider donating, even if it’s $5 or $10. It all adds up.
Thank you for your support. It truly makes a difference.
For more information about HLAA, please visit www.hearingloss.org.