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

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 Houston

  • Houston was founded on August 30, 1836 by brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou.
  • Houston is the fourth most populous city in the nation, with an estimated July 2018 population of 2,325,502 (trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), and is the largest in the southern U.S. and Texas.  Houston is expected to become the third most populous U.S. city during the second half of the decade of the 2020s.
  • Greater Houston is the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the United States. At least 145 languages are spoken by city residents, and 90 nations have consular representation in the city.
  • The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) consists of nine counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller
  • The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA covers 9,444 square miles, an area slightly smaller than Massachusetts but larger than New Jersey.
  • In the last thirty years, several Houston sports teams have won national championships:
    • The Houston Astros won the World Series in 2017.
    • The Houston Dynamo won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007.
    • The Rice Owls won the College World Series in 2003.
    • The Houston Aeros hockey team won the 2003 Calder Cup and the Turner Cup in 1999.
    • The Houston Comets won the WNBA Championship, four years in a row, from 1997 to 2000.
    • The Houston Rockets won the NBA Championship in 1994 and 1995.
  • At 655 square miles, the City of Houston could contain the cities of New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Miami.
  • Houston, with 2.3 million residents, is the fourth most populous city in the United States, trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The city is the largest in the South and the Southwest. 
  • Houston is the nation’s demographic future. In racial and ethnic composition, the Houston of today very much resembles the U.S. 40 years hence.
    • 37.3% Anglo
    • 36.5% Hispanic
    • 16.9% African American
    • 7.5% Asian/Other
    • 1.8% Other
  • More than 145 different languages are spoken in Houston. That’s the third largest number of languages spoken in a U.S. city behind New York (192) and LA (185). More than a third of Houstonians older than five speak a language other than English at home.
  • Just over 31% of the population over the age of 25 holds a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Houston has a very young population. Approximately 22.1% of residents are age 5 to 19, the largest population segment. 
  • Houston ranks first among U.S. cities where paychecks stretch the furthest, according to Forbes. 
  • Houston is home to the second largest concentration of Fortune 1000 companies in the country (49) behind New York (72). 
  • GQ Magazine deemed Houston the “New Capital of Southern Cool” (2018).
  • Thrillist ranked Houston among “The 7 Most Impressive American Cities of 2017” for its diverse population, affordability and strong economy (2018).
  • WalletHub ranked Houston among 2018’s Most Fun Cities in America (2018).
  • Houston rates first in total park acreage among U.S. cities with more than one million residents. Of the 50 largest parks located within U.S. cities, the City of Houston contains four: Cullen Park (#12) with 9,270 acres, George Bush Park (#16) with 8,043 acres, Lake Houston Wilderness Park (#25) with 4,787 acres, and Bear Creek Pioneers Park (#48) with 3,067 acres.
  • There are 198 golf courses within a 50-mile radius of downtown Houston, according to
  • The City of Houston offers a 300-mile interconnected bikeway network spread over 500 square miles. The network includes bike lanes, bike routes, signed-shared lanes and shared-use paths.
  • Houston, situated on two of the four major North American bird and butterfly flyways, offers a bounty of avian species. As of ’14, the Houston Audubon Society has counted more than 400 species of birds in the Houston region.  
  • More than 3.5 million foreign travelers came to Houston in 2017, the most recent year for which data exists. The vast majority of those travelers came from Mexico.
  • International trade directly or indirectly supports more than one-third of all jobs in the Houston metropolitan area.
  • Ninety-one nations have consular representation in the city, ranking Houston’s consular corps third largest in the nation.
  • Houston has 18 sister-city relationships promoting business opportunities across five continents: Asia (7), Europe (7), Americas (2), Africa (1), and Australia (1). Houston’s oldest sister-city relationship was established in 1961 with Taipei, Taiwan, and its most recent relationship with Basrah, Iraq was established in ’15.
  • Fifteen foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices here, and the city has 35 active foreign chambers of commerce and trade associations.
  • Bush Intercontinental Airport offers non-stop service to more than 70 international destinations.
  • Hobby Airport completed construction on an International Terminal in 2015 and began service to Mexico and Latin America through Southwest Airlines. It now serves more than 55 destinations.
  • Houston received approximately 17.5 million visitors in 2015, according to the most recent data available. 
  • Visitors to Houston spent $17 billion in 2014 and the industry supports more than 123,000 jobs.  
  • Houston has more than 80,000 hotel rooms with approximately 8,000 located downtown.
  • With more than 4.4 million square feet of convention space, metro Houston ranks at the top of American cities when comparing convention venues. 
  • In 2016 Houston hosted 431 conventions, events and shows that drew 628,013 attendees to Houston translating into an estimated economic impact of $253 million, based on attendance.
  • The city hosted the NCAA Final Four in 2016 and the NFL’s Super Bowl LI in 2017. 
  • Texas has 20 cultural districts, of which 5 are in Houston (Texas Commission on the Arts).
  • Houston’s cultural events and exhibitions report 9.2 million visits per year.
  • Houston’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated over $1.1 billion in total economic activity, according to the ’17 Arts & Economic Prosperity report. This spending, $579.4 million by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and an additional $538.0 million in event-related spending by their audiences, supports 25,817 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $801.6 million in household income to local residents and delivers $119.3 million in local and state government revenue. 
  • Houston is one of only a few U.S. cities with resident professional companies in the four disciplines of the performing arts: ballet, opera, symphony and theater.
  • Houston has more than 500 institutions devoted to the performing and visual arts, science and history in the Houston area.
  • Houston’s Theater District, located in downtown Houston, features seven renowned performing arts organizations and many smaller ones in four venues: Alley Theatre, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Jones Hall and Wortham Theater Center. The Theater District also includes one venue dedicated solely to dance: Houston Ballet’s Center of Dance. 
  • Houston Ballet: Hailed by The New York Times as “…one of the nation’s best ballet companies”
  • The Alley Theatre has staged more than 25 world premieres in its history. Backed by private and public contributions, the theatre underwent a $46.5-million renovation in ’14–’15.
  • Houston Grand Opera: Only opera company in the world with Grammy, Tony and Emmy awards.
  • Theatre Under the Stars is one of the largest nonprofit producers of musical theater in America.
  • The Houston Museum District is one of the country’s most visited and diverse cultural centers with 19 museums within close proximity. These museums provide rich experiences in art, history, culture, nature and science. The district is divided in four walkable zones, each of which includes a group of museums.
  • One of the largest museum districts in the country with 20 museums and institutions within walking distance.
  • Children’s Museum of Houston is the highest attended youth museum in the country for its size and rated No. 1 in the country by Parents magazine. 
  • The Houston Zoo seeks to provide a fun and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge and care for the natural world. Currently there are over 6,000 animals attracting over 2 million guests each year.
  • The Greater Houston area has 14 major institutions of higher learning and more than 60 degree-granting colleges, universities and technical schools
  • Houston (Rice University) is the birthplace of nanotechnology. Rice University ranked first among “30 Best Values in Small Colleges” and the “30 Best College Values in the West/Southwest” according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine (2014).
  • Tier One research universities in the Houston region include: Rice University, the University of Houston and Texas A&M University. 
  • The region has some 100 trade, vocational and business schools. 
  • For four generations, the Hamilton family has made high-quality men’s shirts for high-end stores like Barneys New York from a Richmond Avenue storefront.
  • Elaine Turner has built a thriving accessories business from her Houston headquarters. Today, her designs are carried in more than 200 specialty stores, at Turner’s boutiques, online and Nordstrom.
  • Project Runway winner Chloe Dao has created a popular clothing line from her boutique Dao Chloe Dao (formerly Lot 8).
  • Fashion designer and native Houstonian Cesar Galindo is recognized worldwide for his cocktail and evening wear collections, which have appeared in print, television, film and the runway of New York Fashion Week.
  • Houston is considered to have one of the best culinary scenes in the country, with cuisine from around the world. There are more than 10,000 restaurants in the Houston area with culinary choices that represent more than 70 countries and American regions.
  • Houstonians dine out nearly more than residents of any other city—6.9 times per week, compared with the national average of 4.9. The average meal in Houston—$35.57—is less than the national average of $36.40, according to Zagat.
  • In ’16, listed Houston as having more than 75 national categories of cuisine, and listed over 600 vegan friendly restaurants, more than 150 farm-to-table restaurants and more than 700  food trucks in Houston.
  • Houston is home to Johnson Space Center, the training base and home for our nation’s astronauts and the site of Mission Control. For more than three decades, JSC has been the world leader in human space flight operations for NASA. Over 3,000 men and women began their careers in this facility.
  • Houston is home to Space Center Houston, the official visitor center of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, which is NASA’s center for spaceflight activities.
  • In 1969, “Houston” was the first word spoken from the moon. The Apollo 11 mission established a place in history for the city when astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke the now-famous line, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
  • Space Center Houston is the home of the international landmark Independence Plaza, the only place in the world where you can enter a space shuttle replica resting on top of the original shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905. The exhibit immerses visitors in the science and history of the shuttle era and gives them a rare glimpse into the ingenuity, breakthroughs and technological advances which impacted the future of exploration. Only at Space Center Houston can visitors walk through the flight deck, mid-deck and payload bay of a shuttle replica and the seven dynamic areas within the aircraft
  • Hollywood directors frequently film in Houston because of the vastly diverse terrain and unique locations found in the Greater Houston area, from the urban landscape seen in Jason’s Lyric and Reality Bites to the NASA favorites Apollo 13, Armageddon and Space Cowboys.
  • In fact, Houston’s varied topography can sometimes be unrecognizable. Who would have guessed that the lush, green landscape on the Rushmore campus was not filmed in New England but in Houston just 10 minutes from downtown? Or that Houston doubled for Arlington, Virginia in the thriller Arlington Road? Other blockbusters filmed in Houston include Boyhood, Terms of Endearment, Evening Star, RoboCop 2, Tin Cup, Flags of Our Fathers, Mao’s Last Dancer, Tree of Life, Medicine 
  • Texas Medical Center (TMC) with 21 renowned hospitals—including M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the No. 1 cancer hospital in the country — 13 support organizations, eight academic and research institutions, six nursing programs, three public health organizations, three medical schools, two universities, two pharmacy schools and dental school—is the largest medical complex in the world.
  • The TMC handles approximately 7.2 million patient visits annually and 106,000 employees.
  • More heart surgeries are performed in the Texas Medical Center than anywhere else in the world.
  • The first successful human heart transplant was performed in Houston by Dr. Denton Cooley (1968).
  • 77030, the Texas Medical Center Zip code, is home to 21,000 physicians, scientists, researchers and other advanced degree professionals in the life sciences at 385 medical offices, the highest concentration in the country.
  • Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is the birth place of Life Flight™ (1976).

Houston 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 Houston today a language interpreter can be a very underestimated professional in the world today. There are over 100 languages spoken in the Houston Metro area alone. Many of us know one language, and we specialize in one field of study. Our Houston 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 Houston

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 Houston

When it comes to communicating with hard-of-hearing or deaf audiences, there are a few reasons you might want to opt for a Houston 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 Houston 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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