Contact us by email at or via phone at 1-800-951-5020 for a free estimate on our ASL and CART services.

Trusted CART & ASL Services in Des Moines, IA

American Language Services has been helping businesses and other entities reach the deaf and hard of hearing community for more than 35 years. While in-person interpreting, at one time, was the only option, recent technological advances opened the door to other options. Since we offer full-service Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), this article will be comparing Virtual American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting with Communication Access Real-Time Translation (AKA- Closed Captioning & Real Time Subtitling) known as CART.

 Please note that according to the American Disability Act (ADA) that deaf and hard of hearing community have the legal right to receive full access through the use of ASL and or CART services. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and providing ASL interpreters for deaf individuals complies with federal law and promotes equal accessibility.

Some interesting Facts About the City of Des Moines

  • In 2014, Facebook set up shop in Altoona, a suburb of Des Moines. The $300 million, 476,000-square-foot building houses servers and hard drives and is the third Facebook data center in the U.S. A second building is planned. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only company leader who sees potential in Des Moines—Microsoft is building data centers worth $2 billion in West Des Moines.
  • On January 20, 1982, a 17-year-old metal fan named Mark Neal threw a bat onstage at a Black Sabbath concert. Thinking it was fake, Ozzy Osbourne picked up the bat and chomped down—which is when he realized it was the real deal. He went to the hospital for rabies shots immediately after the show.
  • What does “Des Moines” actually mean? There are two common theories. One is that “Moines” refers to the Trappist monks (Moines de la Trappe) who once lived at the mouth of the Des Moines River. The other is that “Moines” is derived from “Moingoana,” a native tribe that also once lived along the river banks. Michael McCafferty, a scholar who specializes in Algonquian languages, says the name “Moingoana” is actually a little inside joke. In 1673, when Father Jacques Marquette asked the chief of the Peoria tribe what other tribes were in the area, the chief, not wanting Marquette to trade elsewhere, told him “mooyiinkweena” or “Moingoana.” That translates to “excrement-faces.” The joke was apparently lost on Marquette.
  • People have occupied the greater Des Moines area for at least 7000 years, drawn to the nearby river. In 2011, archaeologists uncovered a massive site they dubbed “The Palace,” which housed more than 6000 artifacts dating back to that time period.
  • Pinterest’s founder, Ben Silbermann, was born and raised in Des Moines. Though he lives in California now, Silbermann continues to promote STEM causes around Iowa.
  • In 1933, Ronald Reagan accepted a job as the chief sports announcer for WHO in Des Moines. He was a very colorful announcer, and when he interviewed singer Joy Hodges a few years later, she suggested that he call her agent. RKO Studio screen tested Reagan immediately, and after just two days back in Des Moines, he received a telegram offering him a seven-year film contract.
  • We’re counting the suburbs, but here are a handful of celebs who hail from the area: actors Brandon Routh, Jason Momoa, and Cloris Leachman; musicians T-Boz Watkins (TLC) and most of the band Slipknot; author Bill Bryson; and athletes Lolo Jones and Shawn Johnson. Masters champ Zach Johnson went to school at Drake University in Des Moines, but was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Speaking of world-class athletes, Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute is located in West Des Moines. Because coach Liang Chow has two Olympic gold medalists under his belt—Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas—other hopefuls are moving to Des Moines in droves just to train with him. He currently has three international elite gymnasts on his roster.
  • At 80 feet in diameter, the golden dome in Des Moines is one of the largest in the world. It cost $3500 to gild the dome back in 1905, but a 1999 restoration cost a little bit more: $400,000.
  • Iowa City was the capital of Iowa until 1855. When the state decided to move government operations to a more centralized location in Des Moines, the University of Iowa took possession of what is now called the Old Capitol Building.
  • More than a million people flock to Des Moines every August to experience the Iowa State Fair (to put that in perspective, the entire population of Iowa is about 3 million), in part because of the deliciously caloric foods. Apple Pie on a Stick and Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly on a stick are new this year, but other skewered options include funnel cake sticks, chocolate-covered chunky bacon maple nougat on a stick, Caprese salad on a stick, deep fried brownies on a stick, hot bologna on a stick, and the ever-popular Fair Squares (giant Rice Krispie treats on a stick).
  • Another big draw for the Iowa State Fair: Its butter cow. Every year (dating back to 1911), the fair’s dairy artist carves the 600-pound creation, along with a themed accompanying sculpture. (This year’s paid homage to Monopoly in honor of the game’s 80th anniversary.) The Iowa State Fair’s butter cow is a must-see for presidential candidates passing through the swing state; this year, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Lindsey Graham, and Carly Fiorina all stopped by to pay their respects.
  • Actor Rob Lowe was playing in a PGA Pro-Am celebrity golf tournament in West Des Moines when a golf ball he had just hit struck and killed a goldfinch, Iowa’s state bird, in mid-flight. Actuaries actually calculated the odds of him going to Iowa and killing a goldfinch with a golf ball: 1 in 747 million.
  • Tones Spices, which has a factory in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny, sometimes donates outdated garlic salt to help with icy roads in the winter. “Yes, it can make your eyes water a little bit,” Ankeny’s public works administrator said. “Everybody has a different reaction to it.”
  • With easy access to a variety of farmers and producers, it should come as no surprise that the Des Moines Farmers’ Market tops lots of “best of” lists. More than 20,000 people attend every Saturday morning from May through October, and the Des Moines Farmer’s Market is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation.
  • Don’t want to go outside in below-zero winter temps or the sweltering summer sun? You don’t have to if you’re in downtown Des Moines. Its extensive skywalk system—climate-controlled overhead walkways that connect buildings—covers about 4 miles and 30 city blocks of “ground.”
  • Even if you’re not familiar with Claes Oldenburg, you’ve seen his work: Massive art installations of everyday objects like the Free Stamp in Cleveland, the Spoonbridge and Cherry in Minneapolis, or the Clothespin in Philadelphia. Des Moines is lucky to have two Oldenburg pieces: the Crusoe Umbrella and Plantoir.
  • Slightly less highbrow art can be found within city limits, too. Exhibit A: the Pondering Rabbit, a sculpture by artist Barry Flanagan meant to mimic Rodin’s The Thinker.
  • If you’re a fan of Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Parents, and other magazines published by Meredith, you’re supporting a Des Moines-based business. Edwin Thomas Meredith founded Meredith Corporation in 1902 with the publication of Successful Farming magazine, then started publishing Fruit, Garden and Home magazine in 1922. Fittingly, Claes Oldenburg’s Plantoir sculpture is located outside of Meredith’s headquarters in downtown Des Moines.
  • Nearly 75 inches of rain fell in Iowa in 1851, a record that has gone unmatched since. The result was a flood that annihilated most of the town. Because it was relatively new, there were no bridges, levees, or other pieces of infrastructure in place to withstand such a substantial amount of water. According to one account,
  • The damage done to the farms in the river bottoms was immense. Some were stripped utterly of their fences; fields under cultivation were washed into ruts by the violence of the water; all hope of a crop for one season being destroyed, not only by what was carried away, but by the debris which was left by the subsiding of the river. It was almost impossible to estimate the losses. Roads were rendered impassable—bridges swept away—the mails stopped, and traveling by land to any distance utterly vetoed. Houses were carried away, mills damaged, timber floated off, and all manner of mischief done by the flood.
  • Likely named after the Raccoon River and not the animal itself, the town was renamed at the direction of General Winfield Scott. Even if it does mean “poopface,” Des Moines residents are likely thankful to be Des Moinesians and not Fort Raccoonsians.
  • When children trick-or-treat (on Beggar’s Night, not Halloween), many adults require them to tell a joke in exchange for candy. The tradition started in the late 1930s when Des Moines police received a record number of calls about vandalism on Halloween night. The director of recreation for the Des Moines Playground Commission started a campaign to encourage more constructive Halloween activities, and told residents that “eats should be given only if such a ‘trick’ as a song, a poem, a stunt or a musical number, either solo or in group participation, is presented.” 70+ years later, the tradition still stands.
  • From 1942 up until 2009, it was illegal to dance between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. in Des Moines. But unlike other silly local laws, this one was actually enforced: According to a 2009 report by the Associated Press, citizens became aware of the ordinance after the Des Moines Social Club, seeking permission to host a late-night party at their facility, was told they weren’t allowed.
  • Zombie enthusiasts (and anyone with an appreciation for the offbeat) flock to Des Moines’ Zombie Burger + Drink Lab, where patrons can choose from burgers with names like “East Village of the Damned” and “Dead Moines.”
  • According to the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Science Center of Iowa, located in downtown Des Moines, is home to the only “functional clear toilet in the Northern Hemisphere.” If anyone knows where the clear toilet in the Southern Hemisphere is, be sure to let us know.

Reference Sources: MentalFloss,

Des Moines ASL & CART Language Interpreters

American Language Services is known for our high-quality, In-person and Virtual interpreters, as well as the outstanding client services we provide. We work in 200+ languages including Legal and Medical Certified and Qualified.  ASL and CART are the fastest growing languages in Des Moines today a language interpreter can be a very underestimated professional in the world today. There are over 100 languages spoken in the Des Moines Metro area alone. Many of us know one language, and we specialize in one field of study. Our Des Moines Interpreters are fluent in English and at least one other language, and they are knowledgeable in a wide range of specialized fields including legal, medical, technical, manufacturing, and engineering.

A brief history of ASL Interpreting in Des Moines

Most people know that ASL stands for American Sign Language. But not everyone knows that it is a distinct language—not simply an offshoot of American English. Though its beginnings are murky, many believe that ASL originated from a merger of French Sign Language (SLF) and local U.S. sign languages. While ASL and SLF are distinct languages, there are still some similarities between their signs.

What actually is ASL?   ASL a complete, natural language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages with grammar however that differs from English. ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face.  ASL is a language completely separate and distinct from English. It contains all the fundamental features of language, with its own rules for pronunciation, word formation, and word order.  Because of the physical nature of ASL, a two-person team of ASL interpreters is required for assignments longer than 1 hour in duration.

The National Center for Health Statistics claims that 28 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, though only between two and eight percent of them are natural ASL speakers.  Helping these select individuals translate the audible into the understandable is the job of an ASL interpreter.  If you have ever been to a play, a concert or watched a government briefing, you have probably seen an ASL interpreter signing just out of view.  An interesting side note is that Statista estimates that there are currently around 60,000 active ASL interpreters in the USA.

The Benefits of ASL Interpreting in Des Moines

When it comes to communicating with hard-of-hearing or deaf audiences, there are a few reasons you might want to opt for a Des Moines ASL interpreter over CART services. These include:

  • A More Personal Connection: A real person has several advantages over a computer screen. First, human interpreters have an easier time conveying emotion. Second, they are better equipped to point out speakers and assist with pronunciation issues. Finally, an interpreter gives a deaf or hard of hearing person a chance to bond with another person.
  • Enhanced Speed: Skilled interpreters can hold pace with even the fastest speakers. Lack of delay makes it easier for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to keep up with the conversation.
  • Cost Effective:  While costs range by the type of ASL you need (Legal, medical, business, etc.) and when the assignment is scheduled, the cost off ASL, across the board, is less money than CART.

What Is CART?

While the majority of people know what American Sign Language is, the same cannot be said for Communication Access Real-Time Translation. Often referred to as CART, this communication method for the deaf and hard of hearing is best described as subtitling for live discussions. Unlike ASL, which relies on a professional interpreter, CART services are provided by a well-trained stenographer or transcriptionist. They transcribe anything said and then broadcast the resulting text to a phone, computer, or TV screen.

CART is often seen as a cost-effective and efficient way to ensure everybody can follow along. While often used to help deaf students in the classroom, CART captioning benefits anyone that can read.  Much like ASL interpreting, it can be done both onsite with a physical transcriptionist or remotely with an offsite one.

Why You Should Consider CART for the Des Moines Market

Communication Access Real-Time Translation is growing in popularity due to the following characteristics:

  • It Serves a Wider Array of Deaf People: If you do a little math, you will realize that 65 percent of hard-of-hearing people in the USA do not speak ASL fluently. CART makes it so these people can join in on the conversation as well.
  • CART Makes It Scalable: While people in the front rows can easily make out what an interpreter is signing, it gets harder as the distance increases. Since captions can be beamed to multiple screens simultaneously, they do not have to factor speaker distance into the equation.
  • The Text Provides a Written Record: Having a transcript of everything your professor said would be a godsend come finals. Having a record of a meeting can also provide clarity to all those involved as well. The physical nature of CART recording makes that possible. This ability is one reason so many college students opt for CART over traditional ASL interpreting. 

About American Language Services

Founded in 1985, American Language Services was there to help pioneer the rise in remote ASL interpreting options. Our dedication to quality and client satisfaction in interpreting allowed us to shift from a one-woman agency into one of the most successful language agencies in the world. Our language experts provide ASL & CART interpreting services to people all around the world. Because of our 24/7 availability, you’ll never have to worry about us not being available, on off times, for an assignment.

AML-Global has some of the most impressive linguistic talents in the world. These highly skilled language professionals are recruited, screened, and tested to ensure high-quality work.

Contact us by email at or via phone at 1-800-951-5020 for a free estimate on our ASL and CART services.


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