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 Memphis

  • Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers.
  • Memphis had a population of 653,450 in 2013, making it the largest city in the state of Tennessee. It is the largest city on the Mississippi River, the third largest in the greater Southeastern United States, and the 23rd largest in the United States. The greater Memphis metropolitan area, including adjacent counties in Mississippi and Arkansas, had a 2014 population of 1,317,314. This makes Memphis the second-largest metropolitan area in Tennessee, surpassed by metropolitan Nashville.
  • Memphis is the youngest of Tennessee’s major cities, founded in 1819 as a planned city by a group of wealthy Americans including judge John Overton and future president Andrew Jackson. A resident of Memphis is referred to as a Memphian, and the Memphis region is known, particularly to media outlets, as Memphis and the Mid-South.
  • Andrew Jackson is regarded as one of the city’s founders. In 1819, Old Hickory teamed up with two other land speculators (judge John Overton and General James Winchester) to establish Memphis as a hotspot for commerce. Its beginnings were humble—the place initially consisted of nothing but a fort, a trading post, and a handful of cabins.
  • It’s named after Memphis, Egypt, which served as that civilization’s ancient capital until Alexandria took over the role sometime around 320 BCE.  
  • The 1862 Naval Battle of Memphis pitted two Union fleets against a lone Confederate one. Each of the three was commanded by an officer with no prior experience in river-based warfare. Even more incredibly, two of those men lacked any sort of military experience whatsoever.
  • Meat-lovers recognize four primary BBQ styles: North Carolina, Kansas City, Texas, and (of course) Memphis. In western Tennessee, barbecue chefs relish a distinctive and rather sweet sauce. This topping exposes Memphis for the major port it’s always been—while cooks in other southern cities used whatever local ingredients they could find, early Memphians could have choicer ones shipped up or down the Mississippi. Thus, molasses became a popular cornerstone in Tennessee BBQ sauce.
  • Robert R. Church Park was created by (and named after) one of America’s first black millionaires. The former slave bought a huge chunk of land near Beale Street in 1899. A grand community center for African-Americans, the park boasted an auditorium with over 2000 seats that Church personally financed.
  • Mark Twain once called Memphis the “Good Samaritan City of the Mississippi.” Nowadays, it usually goes by such nicknames as “Bluff City,” “Hoop City,” and “The Home of the Blues.”
  • One of 1912’s biggest hits, “Memphis Blues” by W.C. Handy, was the first commercially successful blues song ever written. Handy based the tune on a campaign jingle that was used by Memphian mayoral candidate Edward Crump.
  • Congress officially recognized Beale Street as the “Home of the Blues” in 1977. Given that every icon from Louis Armstrong to Muddy Waters to B.B. King performed there at some point, the choice was a no-brainer.
  • We can all thank an unemployed bear for Memphis’ world-class zoo. Like many baseball clubs, the now-defunct Memphis Turtles used a live mascot, frightening home crowds with an ursid named “Natch.” A gift from businessman A.B. Carrathers, Natch’s career didn’t last long and he was promptly returned. Unable to accommodate the beast at his home, Carrathers chained him to a tree in Overton Park. Soon, a number of other unwanted pets joined him there. This prompted Col. Robert Galloway—who headed the parks commission—to request funding for a zoo in 1906.
  • Once upon a time, American shoppers couldn’t peruse grocery aisles for themselves. Instead, customers had to give their lists to their grocers who’d then turn around and gather the items. Enter Piggly Wiggly, the nation’s first self-service grocery store. After the original outlet opened in Memphis on September 6, 1916, it became a widespread chain.
  • Often regarded as the first rock ‘n’ roll record ever made, “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston was produced at the historic Sun Records Studio (a.k.a. “Sun Studios”) on Union Street in 1951. The establishment then became a hit-generating machine, churning out smash singles such as “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins, “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.” In 1960, it closed its doors, finally re-opening nearly three decades later after the necessary renovations were complete.
  • Back in 1953, Sun Studios would let any passerby record an album for $3.98 plus tax. That summer, a teenage trucker from Mississippi walked in and made one for his mother’s birthday. Present at the session was studio founder Sam Phillips, who was largely unimpressed by this greenhorn singer. His secretary, however, heard something she liked and, at her recommendation, the artist was invited back for a second session on July 5, 1954. Five hours in, he dazzled Phillips with a little song called “That’s All Right.” And thus began the meteoric rise of one Elvis Aaron Presley.
  •  Johnny Cash worked in town as a door-to-door appliance salesman before his music career took off.
  • After retiring from showbiz, the original MGM lion was moved to the Memphis Zoo, where he passed away in 1944.
  • The last home that Elvis ever owned is now a prime tourist magnet. Every year, Graceland is the second most-visited private home in America, trailing only the White House.
  • By the way, Graceland’s name has nothing to do with The King. Originally, the property belonged to S.E. Toof, a newspaper publisher who named it after his daughter, Grace. Presley bought the place in 1957 and never re-branded it.
  • The former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, has been converted into the National Civil Rights Museum.
  • If you check out the famous Orpheum Theater, be wary of the mezzanine’s northern side. Rumor has it that “Mary”—the shoeless ghost of a 12-year-old girl—can often be seen enjoying shows from seat C-5.
  • Several prominent celebrities hail from Memphis, including Morgan Freeman, who was born there on June 1, 1937.
  • The city’s annual Cooper-Young festival attracts over 130,000 people every year. Visitors can enjoy live music, art sales, and an ocean of craft beer.
  • When gazing at the city skyline, one building sticks out like an ancient sore thumb. The modern re-imagining of Egypt’s architectural wonders, the famed Memphis Pyramid, was built in 1991. Originally conceived as an indoor sports venue, it’s now a hotel and Bass Pro Shops megastore. Inside, visitors can hitch a ride on America’s tallest freestanding elevator, which stands 320 feet tall and stops at 28 floors.
  •  In 2012, Justin Timberlake became a minority owner of his hometown Memphis Grizzlies. Beforehand, Bluff City’s favorite son occasionally rocked Lakers gear. Awkward.
  • The University of Memphis’ athletic teams are known as the Tigers. In 2012, to honor the school’s centennial, 100 differently-painted tiger statues (including one whose design was modeled after Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”) were displayed on campus. If you’re in the mood for an adventure, know that most of them are now viewable at various locations around town.
  • FedEx—a company that ships up to 22 million packages per day—has been headquartered there since 1973.
  • Memphis is home to the most spoiled ducks on planet earth. Bluff City’s ritziest five-star hotel is an establishment called “The Peabody.” In 1932, manager Frank Schutt and his hunting buddy decided to amuse the customers by placing five live ducks in the lobby’s water fountain. Schutt’s guests adored these feathered friends, and today the Peabody is the home of an all-new flock. The birds mostly while away their days inside a $200,000 duck penthouse. However, every day at 11 a.m., they’re escorted by an impeccably-dressed employee down to the Italian marble fountain for a six-hour swim.

Reference Sources: Mental Floss, Kiddle Encyclopedia

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

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 Memphis

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