The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) has been clear that there is a national sign language interpreter shortage. For decades, the demand for qualified sign language interpreting services has far outweighed the supply.
With the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and video relay service (VRS) call centers, more and more interpreters are seeking full-time employment with those centers. Therefore, the need for excellent, highly skilled sign language interpreters in the community has risen dramatically.
One of the most difficult issues to resolve for requesters of sign language interpreter services has been the lack of interpreters available to provide services in a given geographic area. Interpreters and Deaf people tend to congregate in more populated areas where employment opportunities are greater.
But even in highly populated regions, interpreters are often scarce and/or completely booked up leaving many people still needing services, not to mention the obvious trouble a shortage of interpreters creates for those Deaf individuals who need services in rural or distant areas.
The solution to this problem lies in video conferencing over a high speed Internet connection… Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).
VRI delivers real-time, convenient and affordable American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting services using web-based video technology. The Hearing and Deaf participants are in the same location and the interpreter is located remotely.
VRI Services allow for:
Guaranteed Quality of Services
When a service requester procures DSU’s VRI services, he/she can be assured the interpreters provided are locally and nationally certified, professional, specialist interpreters that adhere to the RID Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) and maintain their certification through continuing education requirements throughout their careers. Having interpreters that specialize in specific areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and other specializations) is essential for a Deaf student or employee to gain an accurate understanding of what is being interpreted. If those interpreters working in these settings don’t have the training they need, the Deaf individual will suffer the fallout. Conversely, when qualified interpretation is taking place, the Deaf individual is able to thrive.
Centralized Interpreter Scheduling
Rather than a service requester attempting to contact individual interpreters over a period of days or weeks, VRI providers contract with Deaf Services Unlimited (DSU) and DSU does all the legwork to secure the highly qualified interpreters required for the assignment. This is especially beneficial when considering the amount of time it takes to locate and schedule interpreters for recurring appointments.
Additionally, these interpreters are licensed to practice Sign Language interpreting in the state in which they are providing services. This keeps institutions and businesses in compliance with State and Federal laws.
The Deaf person (along with their accommodation) becomes discreet
No longer will the Deaf individual be singled out due to having someone walking around with them as their helper. Instead, through use of VRI they are able to log on when communication is needed and log off when it isn’t. The freedom and autonomy this provides cannot be overstated. Video Remote Interpreting creates for them a level of independence and equal footing with their peers that could not otherwise exist.
The implementation of VRI around the nation is dramatically improving the experience for Deaf individuals and is a giant step in the right direction for everyone involved.