CCHD to offer new video remote interpreting service

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The Center for Communication, Hearing & Deafness in West Allis recently began offering a Video Remote Interpreting service through its sign language interpreting program. The service is a state-of-the art system that uses video conferencing technology and a high-speed internet connection to provide long distance sign language interpreting services for individuals that are deaf.
“Technology has really given us the ability to simplify things,” said Sue Kay Kneifel, interpreter and manager of CommunciationLink, the Center’s statewide interpreter coordination service. “It’s really convenient for certain types of interpreting assignments, ones where extensive travel might be needed for a short interpreting session or something similar.”
The service is designed to provide groups and individuals with easy, fast and economical access to qualified sign language interpreters, Kneifel said.
“It is especially useful for areas where traditional sign language interpreters are not available, or in rural areas where interpreting services are less accessible,” Kneifel said. 
“When we come out to a place we bill for travel time, this new service may be able to save an individual or organization some money.”
According to Kneifel, the service is available for anyone with a phone line and access to a laptop or other mobile device with a webcam. Innovations like the iPhone 4 with face time capabilities might make the service even more convenient and mobile in the future, she said.
The Center for Communication, Hearing & Deafness has five full time interpreters on staff, and a pool of part time interpreters ready to be deployed.
“Right now the service is offered by appointment only,” Kneifel said. “And we’re running the service during regular business hours Monday through Friday, I would eventually love to see the service take off though and run on a 24/7 basis.”
According to the Center, more than 500,000 in the state of Wisconsin have some form of hearing loss and according to the National Institute on deafness and Other Communication Disorders; American Sign Language is the fourth most commonly used language in the U.S.

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