ASL Video Remote Interpreting

With so many new tech gadgets coming out today, many times the most functional and beneficial ones get lost in the mix. Video remote interpreting software offers a whole new world of accessibility to deaf and hard of hearing individuals, but it is not a new phone, so you won’t hear about it on most tech and news websites. We wanted to take this opportunity to explain what video remote interpreting or VRI is and how it is changing the lives of thousands of people in deaf communities across the country.

What Is Video Remote Interpreting?

Video remote interpreting, commonly referred to as VRI, is simply a way to deliver qualified American Sign Language interpreters to deaf individuals over the internet using software. Some agencies utilize stand alone software solutions and other may use applications that run inside of the web browser itself. These video remote interpreting sessions allow an interpreter to see and hear people at the same location as a deaf consumer that may not know ASL. This is frequently used for medical appointments, meetings with deaf employees or in some cases legal proceedings.

Video remote interpreting can be used for spoken languages, but most often these services simply use audio only connections or a simple phone call. This is because American Sign Language is a visual language, there must be a strong video feed. Companies who specialize in ASL video remote interpreting generally have standards for hardware and internet speeds to assure a quality video stream so that both parties can have a pristine video quality on both ends. Video remote interpreting services are growing in popularity and as video compression technology and internet speeds rise, this has become a very viable solution.

How Does VRI Software Help Provide Deaf Individuals Better Accessibility?

Many companies operate out of remote locations where there are no certified ASL interpreters. If these companies pay for travel time for interpreters to come to their location, this can become a considerable expense. Using video remote interpreting agencies to bring the interpreter in digitally brings ease of access to interpreters in locations where there has been none in the past. It may also save on expenses, but the convenience is certainly the biggest value to these individuals. Even in densely populated areas where there are plenty of qualified interpreters, video remote interpreting can connect deaf people with interpreters very quickly in urgent settings like ER visits at hospitals and other dire needs.

Technology Makes Every Day Life Easier For Deaf Individuals

There are many ways that technology has helped the deaf and hard of hearing community. From cochlear implants to simply being able to text on a phone to communicate with hearing individuals. Streaming video is certainly one of the most compelling use cases for ASL interpretation. Many individuals have found this service compelling and easy to use in a variety of situations. There are even special setups for Amazon Alexa that allow it to understand commands given in sign language. There is no way to tell where technology will take us next, but one thing is for sure, it will continue to enrich the lives of those with disabilities and help bridge the gap in communication.

  1. Great article! I manage a VRI department for a Language Interpretation Company. We offer not only American Sign Language on video, but 14 other languages too.

  2. Thanks for the good read. Accessibility for deaf consumers has long been an issue. I do understand that spoken languages are important, but these are not disabilities. Individuals who speak a different language are certainly capable of learning the language of the country they live in. Deaf individuals do not choose not speak the English language, they are disabled and cannot hear. This is why there should be so much more focus on services like these for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in this country today. Video remote interpreting for deaf services have certainly become more popular in recent years. In person American Sign Language interpreters are still generally preferred by most deaf consumers though.

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