With the national shortage of qualified and certified American Sign Language interpreters, many companies are starting to look at sign language video remote interpreting solutions to fill the need. Video remote interpreting or VRI as it is commonly referred to, is not always the best solution for providing language access to deaf individuals, but it is growing in popularity and the quality of these services have certainly raised in the past few years.
Deaf consumers are warming up to the idea of accessing professional interpreters via video now that the video streams are much clearer and that they can be accessed almost immediately in many cases. When interpreting services are not scheduled for an appointment, services like this can save the day and get a certified interpreter on site in a matter of minutes.
When Is A VRI A Good Fit For Deaf Consumer?
The best way to find out if a VRI session is a good fit for any given setting is to ask the agency or the deaf consumer. Both will have slightly different input, but this should give you a very good understanding of what works and what does not. Usually video remote interpreting is used for more casual and simple encounters. If there is paperwork involved, a live interpreter is always better. If there are complicated terminology that may require a lot of clarification, again a face to face interpreter is preferred. Simple office visits, one on one business meetings and other casual and controlled settings are where VRI really shines.
Sign Language Video Remote Software
Depending on which VRI agency you choose to work with, there are many different apps, software and API’s that may be used to create the video and audio connection needed for a successful video remote interpreting session. Depending on your needs there are benefits to each. Some companies offer apps in the app store, which seems counter intuitive. You certainly do not want to use a screen as small as a mobile phone for interpreting. Some have software that has to be installed on every computer that will be taking advantage of the ASL VRI connections. The companies that offer cloud based video remote interpreting services seem to the easiest to implement. These video remote sessions simply run inside of a browser window and do not require any installation at all. This is a huge benefit for larger organizations who may be working from computers with security policies applied, so they do not have access to install third party software.
Are Sign Language Video Remote Interpreting Services Compliant?
That is a great question, what about the ADA laws? What about HIPAA? The Registry for Interpreter of the Deaf, The National Association for the Deaf as well as American’s with Disabilities Act specialists have all agreed that this is a valid reasonable line of communication to offer deaf individuals. Now, this does not mean for every situation. There are plenty of times where you really should provide an in person interpreter. If you are not sure, just ask. Deaf individuals will let you know if it will work for them. If you have a deaf patient, employee or customer with low vision, you should not consider VRI and always provide live ASL interpreters on site!