Tag Archives: VRI

Video Remote Interpreting For Casual Medical Encounters

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Many deaf people do not like video remote interpreting for complicated medical visits or emergency room communication. This is understandable. Many times things move so fast in the ER, it can be hard to keep the video screen in a good area so that the interpreter and the deaf individual are able to easily communicate. Some medical appointments are more involved and can take a lot of adjusting to manipulate the position of the screen that the interpreter is being displayed on. However, there are some medical appointments that this is a great option for the deaf patient, especially if you are having a hard time finding available ASL interpreters in your area.

The best way to tell if choosing VRI or an in person ASL interpreter is a good fit, is to simply ask the deaf consumer which they would prefer you to schedule before appointment time. This of course cannot be done in emergency situations, but after getting feedback from deaf individuals you should be able to get a good idea of what types of appointments deaf consumers are comfortable with using a digital solution apposed to an in person interpreter. The American Disabilities Act states that deaf or hard of hearing people are entitled to a reasonable line of communication. This can be very different for different people and taking the time to understand each individuals needs is paramount.

Most medical offices and hospitals that serve those in the deaf community utilize a mixture of ASL VRI and in person ASL interpretation to accommodate all of their patients needs. Just because VRI is a cheaper solution in some cases, does not mean that it is a viable solution. If the medical office does not have access to a reliable and fast internet connection, Video Remote Interpreting will not be a good fit. Choosing to use cell phones is another unacceptable way to utilize these services. However, with the proper setup and communication with patients, using interpreters provided over the internet can offer many different benefits to hearing employees and deaf patients alike.

Video Remote Interpreting Hardware Requirements Checklist

video-remote-interpreting-hardware-checklistNo 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.

On Demand VRI Services – Instant Access For The Deaf

pexels-photo-41073.jpegThe American Disabilities Act created a new era where deaf consumers and many others considered to have disabilities were give certain rights. One of these rights, is the right to a reasonable line of communication. Since this law went into place, there has been a huge spike in the demand for sign language interpreters.

The demand is so high, in fact, that there has been a shortage of qualified ASL interpreters in many metro areas across the country. If you know how supply and demand work together, as you can imagine, this has caused a spike in the prices of on site interpretation.

On Demand VRI Is The Fastest Way To Get ASL Interpreting Services

Even if a company has an interpreter available to come to your office to interpret for a deaf consumer, VRI sessions can be initiated faster than an interpreter can drive across town in most cases. Professional VRI agencies have interpreters ready and waiting to services the next client.

Not all remote interpreting agencies provide an on demand service, but most reputable companies in this field have staffed interpreters ready to assist. This allows for a much smoother workflow in the place of business and it much less distracting than having an outsider in the office at your next business meeting or in the office during a doctors appointment.

Video Remote Interpreting Saves Businesses Money

Many companies do not have a lot of funds available for special services like these. In person interpreting demands a 2 hour minimum, as is the nationwide standard for this type of work. This usually means you would not pay for travel time for the interpreter, however if you only need to utilize an interpreter for 20-30 minutes paying for 2 hours of service certainly can seem unfair. VRI rates are usually based on a per minute or quarter hour and usually are much higher rates, if you were to utilize them for 2 hours straight. However, for medical offices or short meetings with employees, these rates can save a substantial amount of money for many companies that frequently use such services.

Choosing The Right VRI Company

As with any service, choosing the right provider can make a huge difference in the quality of service in which you receive. Do some research and reach out to the company that you are considering. Do they know about licensure and qualifications for the state in which your company operates? Do they have a high quality video platform to deliver the services you are requesting? Does their video software use encryption to assure that your connection is secure?

These are the types of questions you want to ask before moving forward with a contract or any other type of formal agreement. Any legitimate vri agency should also offer a free trial connection to assure that the quality of service is acceptable at your location. Wifi is not the best for video, but if you have a solid internet connection, this can suffice in certain circumstances. Make sure to take some time to make sure the company you connect with can fill you and the deaf consumers needs and you may never pay for a live in person interpreter again!