Tammy Johnson ProCat USA


How I am using speech technology to benefit our deaf and hard of hearing community.

Good morning.  It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to come speak to you this morning.  My name is Tammy Johnson.  I am from the United States, more specifically, North Carolina.  I am a court reporter using speech recognition to provide realtime services in the legal settings of depositions, hearings, arbitrations and so forth, as well as for deaf clients.  I'm going to talk to you this morning specifically about how we in the United States are using speech technology to benefit our deaf and hard of hearing community. 


I use this technology to provide CART services for deaf students.  CART is an acronym that stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation.  I have provided this service at three major universities in North Carolina and one major university in New York.  What I do is attend the classes with my student.  I sit beside him and dictate everything that is being said into this mask.  My voice is transcribed into text.  As that text appears on the screen, the student is sitting beside me reading it so he can "hear" what his professor is saying and what is taking place in the room.  I have also provided CART where the student has his own laptop and I send a cable feed to him.


This is the software I use while providing this service.  ProCAT makes this software specifically designed for speech recognition applications.  ProCAT has been in business for 23 years, making computer-aided transcription software for court reporters and captioners, or subtitlers as they are referred to here.


This software uses IBM Via Voice as its engine, which allows instantaneous translation of my voice into text.  ProCAT's software has tremendous artificial intelligence integrated with Via Voice to produce accurate translation.  I'll just quickly go into the software and give you a peek at my daily working product.  This box on the right is where I assign my speakers for the day.  In a classroom environment, the only speaker identifications I need are "Professor" and "Student."  I insert the chevrons before the name, which is how our deaf community is accustomed to viewing subtitles on television.  From here on out when the professor is speaking, I will say "Spee1" and "Spee3" for a student speaking.  (Demonstrate)


The top part of the box is my favorite feature of ProCAT's software.  Words may come up in a class that are not in the computer's vocabulary at the time.  That is not a problem.  I quickly type the word into the box and from there on out, instead of saying that word, I will say "Mac1."  For example, in an architecture class the architect Mies van der Rohe was being discussed.  Of course it was not in my vocabulary yet, so to get me through the class until I could train the word, I typed it in the box, dictated "Mac1" and it came out correctly for the remainder of the class, giving my student accurate information.  (Demonstrate)


This service does not have to be provided with me present with the student.  The software can also be used to provide the service remotely, or for that matter, the software can be used for subtitling.  ProCAT created software designed specifically for subtitling or remote CART called Captivision.  I'll just quickly give you an overview of that software.  This is the important screen in Captivision.  This is where I will set the mode I'm functioning in.  In the United States we use Line-21 encoders or inserters.  Here in Europe you would set it to Teletext.  I can select the type of connection I'm using - dial-up, local cable connection, or internet.  I set my port for the inserter, baud rate, etc.  Under the Styles file is where I select who I'm doing the subtitling for and the software will automatically adopt their settings.  By the way, the software has a directory where I can store information on all the clients I do work for.  In case I get kicked off line I can very quickly look up their information for emergency situations. 

How it is commonly used in the classroom setting is when I have to caption a video the professor is going to show that day.  I can pre-subtitle the video, save it as a story, select the file, select Auto Feed, and the software will automatically send the subtitles through the feed.  I can select Suspend during a break in class or a commercial break in the case of subtitling.  After the session is over, I can select Credits and the credit information or disclaimer information will display.


Well, I'm probably running a little short on time.  Are there any questions I can answer before we go?  (Q and A session)  Thank you for your interest in ProCAT and our speech recognition products.   

Please come visit me at our booth for further information.