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Video Relay Services (1)

Article series: Video Relay Services 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


Jenika Fettig



Video relay systems

                Video Relay Services are used by Deaf people all over the United States. D/deaf and hard of hearing people who use American Sign Language can benefit from a Video Phone. The video phone is a screen where two deaf people who have the video phone set up can connect and talk directly using American Sign Language. Another advantage to this technology is that if a D/deaf or hard of hearing person wants to call a hearing friend or family member they can click on to one of the many video relay service providers and an interpreter will show up on their screen. The customer then tells the number they want to call using ASL and the interpreter calls the hearing person and relays the conversation between the two. I researched the web and there are several service providers such as CSDVRS, LLC, and Sorenson. There are many more in the game.

Talking with my Deaf sister I found out that this is appreciated more by Deaf/hard of hearing people because they can use their own language, sign language. She also states that she can use facial expressions, interrupt at any time and read the interpreter or friends facial expressions too. It is more comfortable in comparison to the TTY, the former way to communicate. Looking at , I found out that they have many features for D/HH to access communication in their language.

Video relay services include 1800 number. This number allows for D/HH consumers to give to their doctors, friends, or family that are hearing and they can call this 1800 number and directly connect with the VP in their home. If they are not home they can use the VP alert services and this will allow them to get a page to their pager if they have a pager to know when someone is calling them. Deaf people usually have light signals that allow them to know when Video call is incoming. What is neat about this is that they have an answering machine. If the D/HH person is not home, the video relay operator will leave a message. The D/deaf or HH person may click on this message and they will see an interpreter signing their message in their own language American Sign Language.

Another cool thing about the VP system is that if you are Spanish. There is a Spanish Interpreter available. This is cool; the Spanish person may call this service and receive their information through Spanish Sign Language. The interpreter is fluent in both. I think this type of service is accessible and readily easy compare to the TTY. The TTY is still used by some older people who are not tech --savvy.  Since English is not always the first language of Deaf/Hard of Hearing people, this allows them to fully engage in their conversations as oppose to reading English text all the time.

I also researched that D/deaf and hard of hearing people that can speak can use a service called Voice Carry over (VCO).  For an example, the deaf person would call and that will hook them up to the interpreter and they will let them know they want to use VCO. The interpreter will call back their phone, and then connect the deaf person with the hearing person. The hearing person will talk and the video relay interpreter will sign what that hearing person is saying. The deaf person will talk and the hearing person can hear them.

In conclusion, technology has made it possible for Deaf/hard of hearing people to communicate in their own language. Individuals who use this equipment are able to have a conversation using one of the most important things that is valued in their culture, their eye sight, their vision. Deaf people are able to interrupt in comparison to the old TTY where they would have to wait until the other person is finish. Deaf people are conversing using their own language, and receiving communication with full body language, facial expressions and eye contact. Technology has definitely improved the quality of communication for D/HH individuals.



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