Sunday, 9 June 2013

HI-Tech Video phones lead the way....

Awareness for those who still don't know.  While many people use FaceTime or similar video chat software to see who they are talking with on their smartphones, similar technology is also helping the deaf communicate in a new way.

Tami Richardson-Nelson, who grew up in Rolla and is a 1977 Rolla High School graduate, is deaf and recently showed The Rolla Daily News how high-tech video telephone technology helps her communicate faster.  By using a video relay service, Richardson-Nelson can make calls and talk to her family or friends using sign language and the help of interpreters.

When Richardson-Nelson makes a call, she is routed through a remote call center staffed with sign language interpreters.  Once she is connected to an interpreter, the interpreter watches Richardson-Nelson signing, and simultaneously speaks the words to the recipient of her call. Then the interpreter signs back to Richardson-Nelson what the recipient is saying.

This is quite a change in how she used to make calls using TTY machines or teletypewriters, which are devices that have a keyboard and a spot where a telephone can be placed to make a call. With TTY, Richardson-Nelson would have to type what she wanted to say and there was a time lapse in the responses. The new video relay service allows for quicker communication, Richardson-Nelson said. “It’s like FaceTime,” she said. “With an interpreter, it’s a lot faster.”

Video relay service allows conversations to flow in near real time and in a faster and more natural manner. Richardson-Nelson said she uses this technology for all of her phone calls and encourages people not to hang up if they get a video relay service call from a deaf individual.

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