STTS providers can be hired as staff members, independent contractors, or be contracted through an agency. When evaluating qualifications, gather information about the provider’s skills, credentials, and experience working in various settings prior to hiring.
STTS can be provided in-person or remotely, providing flexibility in application across a variety of settings. Choosing the most appropriate STTS system will depend on the deaf person’s communication preferences, learning goals, and environment.
In some cases, STTS may be used with with sign language interpreting services if the student is approved for dual accommodations.
BEST PRACTICES IN ACCESS
STTS Provider Accuracy
The STTS industry has standards for qualified professionals that meet minimum words-per-minute and accuracy requirements. These can be used to continuously evaluate the quality of captions from a provider:
- The minimum standard for a CART provider is 180 words per minute (wpm) with 96% accuracy, as measured by the word error rate. The word error rate = (the number of substitutions + deletions + insertions) ÷ the total number of words spoken.
- The minimum standard for a C-Print or TypeWell provider is a minimum of 60 wpm with 96% accuracy. Accuracy can be assessed in real-time by observing the captioning produced by a service provider during an assignment.
Deaf students should be included in the ongoing evaluation of their service providers. For examples of student evaluations for STTS providers, review the following resources:
- Remote Access Services: Student Evaluation Template
- Disability Services Handbook Templates: Handbook for Speech-to-Text Providers (Appendix E: Speech-to-Text Provider Evaluation form)
STTS Provider Consistency
Hire consistent STTS providers for ongoing needs to ensure effective communication.
A consistent STTS becomes more familiar with the content being communicated in the setting, allowing them to build their STTS dictionary and get to know the deaf person’s communication needs.
This is especially important in technical, sensitive, or interactive settings.
Avril discusses her experience with interpreters. Consistency with STTS providers is just as important as consistency with interpreting, for many of the same reasons. Read full video description
STTS Equipment and Training
- CART providers use a stenotype machine with a phonetic keyboard and specialized software. This is usually provided by the CART provider. Training consists of two or four year associate or bachelor’s degree programs and advanced certification.
- Meaning for meaning providers use laptops with C-Print or Typewell software installed. Some schools will provide the employee with a laptop and other hardware needed. Training consists of two to three months of online training from either C-Print/RIT or Typewell, Inc.
STTS Teaming Practices
For CART providers, a team of providers is generally not needed. For C-Print or Typewell, it is standard practice to have a team for longer or more challenging assignments. Working in a team helps protect the integrity of the message and reduce repetitive motion injuries associated with STTS providers.