No matter how good a sign language interpreter is, if they are on a video and it is tiny or poor quality, they cannot assist in the way they can when they are unhindered. Many times deaf consumer think that VRI is a bad service solely because they have had a bad experience caused by hardware that is not up to par. If your business takes advantage of VRI interpreting services to communicate with deaf or hard of hearing individuals, you must assure that your tablet or computer is up to snuff.
There are many different standards that are suggested by video remote interpreting companies. Each has their own specifications and they vary rather widely. If you are working with a VRI company currently, it is probably best to adhere to their own setup requirements. Depending on which application is being used to stream the video, this can change. Some video remote sign language services utilize dedicated applications, while others leverage web apps that run inside a web browser window, so there is nothing to install. Depending which way a companies streaming video interpreting service utilizes, there can be a big difference in hardware needs.
VRI Hardware Requirements Checklist
There are some national standards set forth by deaf advocacy groups that should be the baseline across the board. The requirements listed below are simply a culmination of the highest quality standards that are set for by a variety of sources to assure that the quality is at its best when you need to utilize a remote sign language interpreter.
- 17” Monitors or larger are highly suggested
- Screen Resolution 1920 x 1080 and above is preferred for HD video
- Minimum of 1024 x 768
- Computer with a dedicated video card.
- Onboard video cards are not suggested.
- Late model Intel core processor I5 and I7 preferred
- 8 GB+ of Ram preferred
- Minimum of 4GB Ram
- Hard Drive 500GB+
- Must have at least 5gb of free space for windows swap file while streaming live video.
- Computer should only be utilized for the VRI while video session is live.
- Hardwired Ethernet internet connection. WiFi can work, but does have more lag is the signal is weak.
Other Possible Options
If there is a dire need and the requirements above simply cannot be met, these are some other options that may be able to provide a reasonable quality of service in a pinch. Again, these are not suggested, but they can offer a way to communicate while your business is working on setting up the needed hardware for future usage.
- 5th Gen iPads or most models of iPad pro can be effective, the screen size can be limiting.
- Laptops with large screens can be used, but very rarely do they have dedicated video cards and many times the on board cameras are not very good.
- Wireless connectivity is generally slower and has more lag time than Ethernet connections. Many mobile devices can only connect to WiFi and this can become a bottleneck in the quality of VRI services, so they should be avoided if possible.
- Cell phones are never a good solution. They are simply too small and do not provide an acceptable accommodation to the deaf and hard of hearing individual.
We hope this checklist helps you find out what area can be improved at your place of business to provide real functional accessibility to deaf employees or deaf patrons of your business. It is important to ask the deaf individual if the current mode of communication is working well for them. Communication is a two way road and if you ask you may find out other simple changes that could be made to make for an even more effected environment in which to communicate with others.