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Remote Communication Access for Those Who are Deaf
The Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990 guarantees Deaf and Hard of Hearing Americans the right to access communication in their everyday lives. Those with hearing loss may need accommodations to access communication for medical appointments, attorney meetings, educational opportunities, utility companies, employment meetings, training programs, press conferences and public announcements, or various social services. It is the legal obligation of businesses and organizations to make their goods and services available to all Americans without barriers. The most common accommodations include sign language interpreting, or realtime captioning (CART) services.
People are increasingly managing their lives remotely. To meet the evolving demands of Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers, many organizations are now exploring the possibilities of Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) Services, as well as Remote Captioning (CART) Service. These services can be utilized to ensure effective communication that meets the ADA requirements for accessibility.
What is VRI?
Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is a simple and seamless alternative to in-person interpreting service. The only requirements are a video-enabled computer or mobile device and WiFi.
How Does VRI Work?
1. A meeting is scheduled between a Deaf and hearing party.
2. The business or organization contacts an interpreting agency to make a request for VRI Service.
3. The interpreting agency matches the clients with an interpreter based on meeting topic, business type, skill level, and Deaf consumer preferences.
4. The organization is then confirmed for VRI services and an online meeting link is shared. Everyone will simply click this link at the meeting start time.
5. The Deaf individual, the hearing individual(s), and the interpreter are connected on a live video meeting. The hearing party can speak directly to the Deaf consumer. The Interpreter will listen to the hearing speaker and interpret their dialogue into ASL. The interpreter will interpret the Deaf person’s sign language responses into spoken English for the hearing person.
When is VRI Appropriate?
VRI is a great option for times when an in-person meeting between Deaf and hearing parties is simply impossible. Since those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing tend to rely heavily on visual cues and body language throughout conversations, it’s always best to engage face to face if that is an option.
Despite any limitations of the technology, utilizing a remote interpreter meets the ADA requirements for effective communication in most situations, and these services can provide critical access for people who use ASL as their primary form of communication.
What is Remote Captioning (CART)?
Remote CART offers highly accurate realtime captioning for meetings, lectures, webinars, conversations, presentations, recorded videos, and more! Host virtual meetings that are accessible to a wide audience using Zoom, Facebook, or other platforms.
How Does Remote CART Work?
Remote Captioning means the CART Provider is offsite, so two paths of communication take place:
1. The audio from the meeting or event must reach the Remote CART Provider, usually done via telephone or Internet chat, such as Zoom or Skype. In order for the Provider to hear clearly, depending on the type of event, setup, and the layout of the room, a microphone may be needed.
2. The streaming text is delivered in realtime to the Consumer’s web-enabled device – anything from a smartphone to a desktop computer. A secure link is emailed to the client or consumer to click on when the event begins. No downloads are usually necessary. Wifi (or hardwire ethernet) is needed on the receiving end.
The exact technical details of the meeting can be worked out by the stenographer (with the assistance of meeting host) prior to the start of the online event; typically this takes no longer than 30 minutes to ensure a smooth process. The captions are customizable. In most situations the Consumer can change the colors of both the background and text, as well as the size of the letters, to allow for the most desirable viewing.
When Is Remote CART Appropriate?
Remote CART is an excellent way to ensure online offerings are more accessible not only for audiences with hearing loss, but also for those who have learning or cognitive disabilities, people for whom English is a second language, or anyone who has difficulty understanding dialects and accents in audio. Since transcripts can be provided afterward, event organizers can choose to share with attendees who may want to review the content again, or those who may have missed the meeting.
In our changing times, it’s more important than ever that communities work to support one another. As businesses and organizations shift their operations over to virtual offices and remote servicing, we have an opportunity to prioritize accessibility as a built-in feature of society. While companies pivot to digital, we can take the time to ensure our new processes are inclusive right from the ground up!
It’s easy to implement ADA compliant communication access using Remote Interpreters or Remote Captioning. LC Interpreting Services is pleased to offer Video Remote Interpreter (VRI) Services and Remote Captioning (CART) Services for clients anywhere in the country. Contact us today to learn more.