November 1, 2014 marked the first ASL-VRI community forum held at Voiance’s Tucson Airport Center. It was a wonderful event that gave the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Tucson the opportunity to visit and learn about the ASL-VRI (American Sign Language Video Remote Interpretation) services Voiance provides nationally.
Melanie Miller, ASL-VRI Interpreter, and I (Victor Collazo, the ASL Operations Manager for Voiance and its parent company, CyraCom) gave the presentation in ASL and took the attendees on a tour of the facilities. The attendees enjoyed seeing where the ASL interpreters were located. It also gave Melanie Miller, who is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), a chance to show her parents where she works.
The ASL VRI community forum began with a short video that was closed captioned, explaining Voiance’s VRI services. Attendees commented how well the video was produced and that they were equally impressed that it was closed captioned!
Captioning video on websites that serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community is very important in demonstrating the need for complete access to online resources and information. Millions of Hard of Hearing individuals who do not know ASL would also benefit from captioned videos.
Attendees were shocked to see that VRI services were available not only on computers but also accessible through smart phones and tablets. The flexibility in being able to connect to an ASL interpreter anywhere was seen as a very good feature.
The community forum was scheduled for 2 hours from 11:00am to 1:00pm but lasted well after 2:00pm. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community leaders as well as individuals that have used VRI (video remote interpreting) participated in a healthy and important discussion regarding video remote interpreting services. Topics of discussion included an introduction to Voiance, the qualifications of Voiance’s ASL Interpreters, the challenges of adopting new technologies, and the need to lower the waiting time for interpreting services in the healthcare setting.
All of the attendees were very impressed with Voiance’s commitment to serving not only the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community but everyone who is in need of interpreting services.
At 12:30pm, we all sat down and had some lunch. This was a great way again to continue our discussions but it also gave me the opportunity to get to know everyone who attended. The day concluded with a tour of the call center. Attendees were very impressed with the size and sophistication of the call center and expressed their thanks to Voiance for affording them the opportunity to learn more about ASL and Video Remote Interpretation.