Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is an option for connecting with an interpreter thru the internet instead of a live interpreter showing up at your agency. The hearing and deaf person are in the same room with the interpreter at a remote site. VRI costs are the responsibility of the requesting agency.
Video Relay Service (VRS) is used to place phone calls between deaf and hearing callers who are in two different locations. VRS is government regulated and reimbursed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The responsibility for payment would be with the hiring entity. VRI is normally billed on a per minute rate for the time used of service. Pre-paid packages are being offered to many entities and can be available at a discounted rate based on usage. Comparing VRI with Community Interpreting, entities will see the cost savings as there are no last minute charges, cancellation policies, travel fees or 2 hour minimum on assignments.
The ADA states that the agency needs to provide an effective means of communication for deaf or hard of hearing consumers. The needs of each consumer need to be assessed on an individual basis and will depend on the situation. The entity would be providing interpreting services and, therefore, would be complying with the ADA.
No. Some situations still need to have a live interpreter present to provide services. For example, if the deaf consumer is in a serious medical situation and is unable to sit up they could not communicate to a remote interpreter. It is always best to give the deaf consumer the option of a live interpreter or VRI. Due to significant wait times for last minute requests, VRI may be a good option for immediate access.
Some situations are not ideal for VRI. The agencies coordinating the VRI service will be able to assist you on that determination.
Once the customer profile is complete, test calls will be placed with customer service. Feedback and appropriate adjustments will be made at that time. Generally, hearing and deaf consumers should sit across from each other, with the videophone device facing the deaf consumer.
Please send an email to VRI@zvrs.com.