Every industry comes with distinct vernacular! A common misconception specific to the American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting Community is that the use of Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is the same as using Video Relay Services (VRS). Although both types of service are provided via a digital platform and use similar equipment, these services are quite different. Let’s take a closer look.
According to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) website, “VRS, like other forms of Telecommunication Relay Services (TRS) allows persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) to communicate through the telephone system with hearing persons. The VRS caller, using a television or a computer with a video camera device and a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection, contacts a VRS caller, who is a qualified interpreter. They communicate with each other in sign language through a video link. The VRS caller then places a telephone call to the party the VRS user wishes to call. The VRS caller relays the conversation back and forth between the parties — in sign language with the VRS user, and by voice with the called party. No typing or text is involved.”
|Photo credit Convorelay
The interpreter connects the call to the intended party, then interprets the phone conversation between the two, utilizing the camera to communicate with the DHH participant and the headset for the person using a phone. Visually this looks very much like Facetime or Skype. This is also the process when a call is initiated by a DHH caller. The VRS process allows communication to flow and both parties use their native languages through the interpreter.
So, what is VRI? The National Association of the Deaf defines VRI as “When in-person, on-site interpreting services are not immediately available, technology now provides for an interim solution in the form of off-site interpreting services, called Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). VRI uses videoconferencing technology, equipment, and a high-speed Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to provide the services of a qualified interpreter, usually located at a call center, to people at a different location.”
Learn more about LTC and VRS/VRI or call us at 888-456-1626.