Deaf and Hard of Hearing people have a few different options for communicating in the workplace or at events. Some prefer real-time transcription services while others may favor text phones and video relay services.

However, one of the most effective means of communication for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals is sign language interpretation. An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter can quickly and efficiently relay information between two parties.

If you are considering hiring an ASL interpreter for your employees with diversabilities (diverse abilities), there are a few considerations to keep in mind. One of these considerations as businesses start to reopen is whether you should hire an in-person interpreter or work with a video remote interpreting (VRI) service.

Benefits of In-Person ASL Interpretation

Face-to-face ASL interpretation is the method that most Deaf and Hard of Hearing people prefer. For one, it is a more personal means of communication. Being in the same physical space makes it easier to read body language and expressions, both for the interpreter and the recipient.

The interpreter can more accurately tell if the recipient needs more information or is confused. Additionally, they can more easily facilitate the relationship between the speaker and the recipient when all parties are physically in the room.

Benefits of VRI Interpretation

The biggest benefit of VRI interpretation is that it is available anywhere at any time, as long as you have access to the internet or mobile data. VRI ASL interpretation is available via smartphones, tablets, and computers.

As COVID-19 has shown, it is also always good to have a digital substitute in case people are not able to gather as originally planned as well.

Weighing Your ASL Interpretation Options

There are certain special circumstances when it makes sense to choose one type of interpretation over the other. In-person interpretation is especially useful in the following situations:

  • Large events when multiple people in the audience require interpretation
  • Long events
  • Trade shows and other events that require individuals to walk around and interact
  • When someone specifically requests in-person ASL interpretation

VRI services are useful for other situations, including:

  • When funding does not allow for an in-person interpreter
  • Events that only last for an hour or two at most
  • Emergency situations that require an interpreter immediately
  • When the recipient would prefer a more confidential setting

The most important factor to consider when weighing your options between in-person interpreting and VRI is the recipient’s preference. Always discuss with the Deaf or Hard of Hearing individual to find out what will be easiest for them and work from there.

At Applied Development, we can help you decide which option is best for your organization and then give you the tools to implement it. For more information on what we do and how we can work with you, give us a call at 410.571.4016 or contact us on the website