The advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has led to a dramatic rise in the need for excellent and highly skilled sign language interpreters in the community. However, for decades, the demand for qualified sign language interpreting services has far outweighed the supply. More importantly, the lack of availability of qualified interpreters to provide sign language interpreting services in a given geographical area has been one of the most difficult issues to resolve for requesters of sign language interpreter services. As a consequence, those in need of these services in remote areas tend to congregate in more populated areas where the services are readily available. But even in highly populated areas, interpreters are often scarce or completely booked up, leaving many people still needing sign language services. The solution to this problem lies in Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).
VRI uses videoconferencing technology, equipment, and a high speed internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to provide services of a qualified interpreter to people at a different location. It does not only deliver real-time ASL interpreting services, but is also convenient and affordable. Here are the benefits of VRI for ASL interpreting over in-person ASL interpreting:
The Deaf Person Becomes Discrete
With VRI, the deaf persons no longer need to have someone walking around them as their helper. Instead, through the use of VRI they are able to log on when communication is needed and log off when it isn’t. Thus, VRI provides freedom and autonomy than cannot be provided with on-site interpreters. Additionally, VRI creates a level of independence and equal footing with peers that could not otherwise exist.
Real-time Interpreter Scheduling
VRI significantly reduces the time taken to locate and schedule interpreters for recurring appointments. In essence, VRI providers don’t need to contract interpreters for long-term assignments. Particularly, VRI interpreters are only contracted at the time of need.
Last Minute Needs
Occasions may arise when interpreting services are needed at short moments of notice. With VRI available, it is possible to connect with a certified interpreter in less than a minute. This is important especially in locations such as hospitals where urgency is very important.
Low Interpreting Costs
With VRI, interpreters do not have to commute to and from appointments thus the cost of interpreting is significantly reduced.
Trained Professional Interpreters
Professional interpreters are vital to correctly break down the language barriers and avoid miscommunication issues. For example, a medically trained interpreter is more likely to offer better interpreting services in a medical setting than a randomly selected emergency interpreter who just happened to live in the area.