Assistive Technology

Commaccess.net looks at different ways in which deaf and hard of hearing people can communicate...

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Sign Language Translation App on any display information

Any language information which mostly Sign Language users would struggle to understand, you can now get a translation quickly and easily using this image...

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Products Demonstration

Free Demonstration in UK and Ireland – short or long distance. Outside the UK I advise you to contact me by telephone, E-mail, Skype and FaceTime.

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CommAccess.Net

Commaccess.net looks at different ways in which deaf people can communicate; for example, sign language interpreters, communication support, lip readers.  However, the main focus will be looking at communication technology as this is of particular interest to me.  I strongly believe the way forward for deaf people to be able to communicate effectively, will include more and more technological aids.

Please remember power is given to us by having various spoken languages and sign languages across the world; I continually support the use of face-to-face communication including interpreters, lip speakers, translators and more.

You can view products on my blog.  I also visit people and provide demonstrations.

(Photo): The products included in this photo are:

  • Webcam with laptop and devices for Video Relay Services for Sign Language users
  • Speech or Text to Text app via iPad2
  • iPad mini and Android and Apple mobile phones
  • Bluetooth HD wireless microphone
  • Face to Face communication device
  • Samsung and Apple tablets (any internet enable devices) for Remote Captioning service
  • Assistive Listening devices for multimedia, TV, meetings and conferences.

Could any of these be suitable for you?  Have fun exploring the possibility.

Email: blog@commaccess.net

You can watch my video in sign language with English voiceover: to use subtitles; closed captions and auto translate click on Settings icon (wheel icon on bar)

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello, my name is Tim and I have set up ‘My Blog’.  My Blog is about communication access and sharing technology and is for everyone.  I am a profoundly deaf person and have met many barriers to communication over the years, until finally I had access to lip readers, note-takers and interpreters and that has been the case for a long time.  However, with new technology, I want to talk about the future. My Blog is not aimed solely at deaf and hard of hearing people, but at many many different people, who may have autism or mental health issues and deafness.  They may need to communicate with their family, their colleagues or professionals.  This blog, as you can see from the picture at the top of this site, gives access to things like VRS linked to remote interpreting, and also note-takers, and STTR or speech to text reporters, and there are also communicators as well.  So, in brief, there are different groups: those that use sign language and have their own regional sign languages; those that use visual words for communication; speech translation and also these new technologies; so there are four different areas that we will cover.  Photographs, images and videos will be uploaded and shared. If you have any ideas or information, please do share them via email.  To share your ideas send them to blog@commaccess.net  and the website address is www.commaccess.net  Thank you for watching.

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Signly British Sign Language Translation App (any sign languages)

This is my latest video about a new BSL Translation App – Free download to your Smartphone and tablet.

The app is an exciting way for your company to interact with its customers who use British Sign Language and for British Sign Language users to access services.

The service provider pays for a pre-recorded British Sign Language translation of the written information they wish to make accessible. This could be posters, leaflets, letters, legislation, websites or books. The British Sign Language user is then able to see a pre-recorded British Sign Language Translation of that text using the app. This translation is displayed as a 3-dimensional image over the written text, by viewing the text or page through the screen of their device with the app open. This app could be useful for galleries, museums, government, employers, educational establishments, promoters and publishers to make their written information accessible.

This video has a spoken English Voiceover, written Transcript and is presented using British Sign Language in-vision.

Please share with your friends and comment below.

Text Transcript of BSL video:

Hi, My name is Tim. If you’re viewing this video on Facebook you can see my full name above this window.

I want to talk to you today about a new way that written printed English, can be translated into British Sign Language.

I have two examples that I want you to see. The first is a page from the children’s book ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’. This is a sample page from the story’s text. The second is a translation of the flight safety information you would get when boarding an aeroplane.

So, I’ve got my phone with me, and I have an app, which is free to download. I am going to use that now so you can see what I am talking about.

First you will see my face, as viewed through the app, then you will see an example page, with a 3d image of an interpreter displayed in front of the text.

Ok?

<Shows the page of the Hungry Caterpillar>

And one more example.

<Shows flight safety information>

Wow, this is just normal paper! I’ve been able to do this, just by printing off this page and using the downloaded app to get a British Sign Language translation.

Imagine! You could use the same technology to access British Sign Language translations of posters and pamphlets or even the instructions on medicines, foods, cosmetics, letters. There are so many places this could be used. It even works to provide translations of WebPages – just by grabbing your phone and viewing it through the app.

So many people these days have mobile phones. All you would have to do is just point your phone and a translation is there. Wow!

I’d like you to think about who you could talk to about this technology? – your council, your local MP, a school, college or university, Organisations in both the private and public sector.

I got hold of this, and I wanted to give you a video demonstration today, but I could also come and give you a live demonstration in person.

You’re welcome to contact me to find out more on my email: blog@commaccess.net. At the end of the video I will put up my contact details – my website, mobile and email address.

Thanks.

Mobile: +4407780332828 (Outside UK)

Skype: microlinkpctim

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Microlink Signly BSL Translation App Part Two

Home

 

Text Transcript of British Sign Language video: 

This is the second part of my video and in it I wanted to explain a little further how the app works.

Whoever needed the translation would book a British Sign Language Interpreter. A video of their translation would then be pre-recorded. The written information the Interpreter is working from might be a document, leaflet or website.

So, the Sign Language translation is pre-recorded, there is not yet the option to have a live interpretation using the app. You then point the camera of your phone at the document that has been translated.

The app is free to download and then it’s with you, to use when leaflets are sent to you. Really, this technology could be used to translate any display of information into British Sign Language or Speech.

I created this video demo is to share information on My blog and Facebook page, but really, I just believe in the importance of this idea. With so many people using Sign Language out there, it’s fantastic that finally deaf people might be able get instant access to translations of written English.

If you’re unsure of how to go about downloading the app, please contact me. Or if you want to find out more about the service, you might have received some information you think would be useful to translate into Sign Language or you might want more information about how to record a British Sign Language translation onto a document made by your company, your council, maybe you work for a business, a corporation, a private company or access to work. There are various different domains where I think this piece of technology would be really useful. It’s a fantastic way to translate written English into British Sign Language. It’s such a simple, concise idea.

On my other video I showed you the example of ‘the hungry caterpillar and the flight safety information. Both of these, are as I have said, examples. They are not final versions, they were created to give people the opportunity to see the potential of this new mobile app.

Whether you think it’s useful or not is up to you. Personally I think that so many people use mobile and tablet devices these days, it makes for a simple yet powerful solution.

To find out more contact me, or contact Microlink. We can give you more information about what the app is, how it works, and work with you on different topics you might be working on translating. We can work in your language, be that British Sign Language, International Sign Language or Sign Languages from other countries.

Please feel free to contact me to go through your ideas. I don’t have to do a sales pitch. I am happy to just give you the information to mull over how this technology might work for you.

Examples of Domains I’d be interested in exploring with you are, medical uses, educational uses. How this could be used in awareness campaigns, giving information, employment and any other situations you can think of.

I personally believe this will have a huge impact on the lives of people who use British Sign Language and want to access information in their first, or preferred, language.

Thank you for watching, please post your thoughts in the comments, or send me an email.

Thanks.

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UbiDuo2 Testimonial: Paul

 

Name: Paul

Title: Cued Speech User, Tutor, Advisor, and Transliterator. 

His comments: “I use it with a deaf student at the university where I act as a note-taker.

dav

After using various methods and software such as Stereotype, it was finally agreed to use UbiDuo:


They valued the instant access to what was being said, very lightweight and portable – easy to whip to a group situation, not as intrusive as a giant laptop, doesn’t obscure their view of the rest of the desk or the faces of those around them, they can ask immediate questions through English as notes continue to be made, can make notes themselves in the body of text, people from both ends of the room can communicate with them typing on either half of the UbiDuo.

PLUS, they still get a copy of the notes at the end in that they save raw format direct to their own penstick and I tidy up the notes and email them to him later.

Having had UbiDuo for around 4 years, only just started using it this week – a breakthrough for their access to study.

No problems with Internet connections either!!!!!!!

dav

I am considering to buy a second one and see about using it with more than 1 deaf student”.

 

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British Sign Language Translation App Part 1 Video

This is my latest video about a new BSL Translation App – Free download to your Smartphone/device/tablet.

The app is an exciting way for your company to interact with its customers who use British Sign Language and for British Sign Language users to access services.

The service provider pays for a pre-recorded British Sign Language translation of the written information they wish to make accessible. This could be posters, leaflets, letters, legislation, websites or books. The British Sign Language user is then able to see a pre-recorded British Sign Language Translation of that text using the app. This translation is displayed as a 3 dimensional image over the written text, by viewing the text or page through the screen of their device with the app open. This app could be useful for galleries, museums, government, employers, educational establishments, promoters and publishers to make their written information accessible.

This video has a spoken English Voiceover, written Transcript and is presented using British Sign Language.

Please share with your friends and comment below.

Text Transcript of BSL video:

Hi, My name is Tim. If you’re viewing this video on Facebook you can see my full name above this window.

I want to talk to you today about a new way that written printed English, can be translated into British Sign Language.

I have two examples that I want you to see. The first is a page from the children’s book ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’. This is a sample page from the story’s text. The second is a translation of the flight safety information you would get when boarding an aeroplane.

So, I’ve got my phone with me, and I have an app, which is free to download. I am going to use that now so you can see what I am talking about.

First you will see my face, as viewed through the app, then you will see an example page, with a 3d image of an interpreter displayed in front of the text.

Ok?

<Shows the page of the Hungry Caterpillar>

And one more example.

<Shows flight safety information>

Wow, this is just normal paper! I’ve been able to do this, just by printing off this page and using the downloaded app to get a British Sign Language translation.

Imagine! You could use the same technology to access British Sign Language translations of posters and pamphlets or even the instructions on medicines, foods, cosmetics, letters. There are so many places this could be used. It even works to provide translations of WebPages – just by grabbing your phone and viewing it through the app.

So many people these days have mobile phones. All you would have to do is just point your phone and a translation is there. Wow!

I’d like you to think about who you could talk to about this technology? – your council, your local MP, a school, college or university, Organisations in both the private and public sector.

I got hold of this, and I wanted to give you a video demonstration today, but I could also come and give you a live demonstration in person.

You’re welcome to contact me to find out more on my email: blog@commaccess.net. At the end of the video I will put up my contact details – my website, mobile and email address.

Thanks.

 

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Live Demonstration: UbiDuo2 ‘Face to Face’ Communicator, Instantaneous Typing Letter by Letter

Video Transcript:

Hello, welcome to another video from my blog ‘Communication Access’.  I’m here with a sign language interpreter who’s voicing over for me today.  I am going to be doing a video about UbiDuo2. If you’re not sure of what this device is please have a look at the other posts on my blog, or leave a comment.

Now I’m going to show you with a live demonstration how UbiDuo2 can be used. As you can see, we have two devices here. I’m going to show you the different ways these can be set up. As you can see we have horizontal and vertical screen splits here. It’s a touch screen, so, if you go to settings, there’s an option here for different displays and split screens. We have 2 devices today, so this is a two-way conversation but you can have up to 4 conversations at once. The set up for that is either 4 horizontal screens, or a split screen, as you can see.

As you can see, what I am typing is instantaneously appearing on the other screen. The devices are connected by wires (interpreter error: wireless). You are able to change the colour, the font colour, the background colour — it’s really up to you what settings are on your particular device.

If we have a quick look at the administration control, you are able to individually control all of these aspects. You are able to set up passwords. You are able to switch on and off whether a device should be wireless enabled. You are able to decide whether chats should be able to be saved within the memory of the device or not. If you look here, you are also able to block the ability of the USB to connect to the device. Obviously, in some areas of work it might be advantageous to switch off the USB posts so that conversations cannot be shared, or you might want to be able to move conversations from the device using the USB port. This device is also available to connect to other devices within a range of 100 ft. (interpreter error: 300ft). You’re allowed up to ten names (interpreter error: device) on your list. So there might be 10 other machines this device is able to connect to, but only 4 people would be able to engage in a conversation at one time. The device is very similar, in the way it works, to MSN. You have to send someone a friends request and then they have the option to either accept or ignore their request. This machine on the right is called ‘Tim’ – You can see it here at the top of the list.  By clicking on the name, you are able to have these options. Thank you very much for watching.

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Live Demonstration:- OviiChat, Letter by Letter, Real Time Communication

Video Transcript: 

Hello, and welcome to another video from my blog Communication Access. Today I am going to be doing a video with a live demonstration of this software. This is an app called Ovii Chat and it’s available on Apple.

You need to wait for the two apps to connect to each other. As you can see, *types* it appears instantaneously on the screen. When you have finished writing your comment you just press ‘done’. Now I am going to hand the mobile handset over to the Sign Language Interpreter so that she can speak into the speech to text. *Tim’s voice speaks* As you can see it can understand me as a deaf person, and now the Interpreter is going to reply ‘I am fine thank you’. ‘How was the football last night?’

Thank you, this is the demonstration finished. Please feel free to leave comments on the blog or on the website. Thank you very much.

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British Sign Language on AR (Augmented Reality) Code for English publications

 

You can watch my video in sign language with English voiceover: to use subtitles; closed captions and auto translate click on Settings icon (wheel icon on bar)

Video Transcript:

Hello. I wanted to do a quick video for you today while I have an Interpreter here to voiceover for me. Wanted to let other British Sign Language users know about some information that I’m aware of. I don’t know if you know what an AR code is? I wanted to show you.  Here’s a picture here.  This means that British Sign Language can be contained in written information!

Any English information which British Sign Language users would struggle to understand, you can now get a translation quickly and easily using this image.  I want to show you using my Apple mobile now.  If you see paper with an AR code on, just move your mobile phone in front of the code and a British Sign Language Interpreter will appear.

I’m now going to show you that it also works using an Android mobile.  Isn’t this superb? It works on an Android and Apple mobile.  Using an AR code means up to 3,000 words can be recorded into British Sign Language, and the code will store the information; any person who Is using their phone can access the information just by scanning their camera (the app) over the code- which is absolutely brilliant.

I’ve been thinking about the potential uses for this.  We have the up and coming EU referendum.  A lot of deaf people received the English leaflet that was sent out and they weren’t able to understand it because there was no British Sign Language translation. Imagine if there was Augmented Reality attached to it! Or what about HMRC forms? People often struggle to understand those, they are very lengthy.  Or what about Access To Work claim forms? That way, for Deaf people, when we submit a new claim, would be able to get a fantastic British Sign Language translation.  And, like I was saying, the EU referendum is coming, this Thursday I think, on the 23rd of June.  Also there’s the potential use for it on prescription bottles.  It might be that deaf people aren’t sure how to take their tablets correctly or what dosage they need to be taking.  Having a small AR code on the back of the bottle would mean they get a British Sign Language translation.  And, I know a lot of people are very excited about being able to go on holiday over the summer, but deaf people really struggle to understand the safety information.  Like how to use the life jackets, or where the emergency exits might be.  Hearing people have access to the flight safety guidelines, and there is always that little picture, in that little pocket in front of you on the airplane, imagine an augmented reality code on that, so that you could get a British Sign Language translation.

This leaflet in front of me, and I have to congratulate them for trying to do it, is from the NHS. It says Face, Arms Speech Time – then it’s time to call 999. ‘When a stroke strikes act fast’. All you need is the Signly.co app and you are able to access this information using these Augmented Reality codes.  This is superb! No longer will we need to complain and make telephone calls to complain about the lack of BSL access, or not understand what’s happening on flights during the flight safety information.

The only issue with this is that its only one-way communication, you’re not able to respond to this information.  It’s not a real time sign language interpreter, but I just think it’s fantastic!

Thank you so much for watching.


Just let you know I am delighted to receive email from Helen Lansdown, Chief Executive of Deaf@x,  please read PDF file and watch video below:

PDF File: Reply to Tim Scannell text (17th August 2016)

Safety Card sample

The Very Hungry Caterpillarhungry caterpillar

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Phonak Roger Pen

 

Phonak Roger Pen (Roger Pen Bundles with Microphone transmitter and MyLink receiver)

You can watch my video in sign language with English voiceover: to use subtitles; closed captions and auto translate click on Settings icon (wheel icon on bar)

Video Transcript:

Hi, as you can see here, I’ve got the Phonak Roger Pen.  Lots of people think it’s actually a pen, which is marvellous, as people think, “oh, this is Tim’s pen.” Nobody ever asks me about it. Some people ask me about my hearing aids because they are visual, and people ask, “What are those?”  Or radio aids, do you remember the old days, the old radio aids, the old fashioned body-worn radio aids that everyone had to wear?  People would stare at us saying, “What are they?”  You looked like you had some sort of Police radio pack on!

The Roger Pen is very useful in conferences or in interviews. You can point the pen at somebody or wear it on a lanyard, like this around your neck.  It’s a transmitter and acts like a microphone, and it reduces excess background noise, and it has what’s called 3 – push Bluetooth signal. If it can’t get around an obstacle the first time sending a signal, it will try in a different direction.

It sends and receives the information three times, so it is much more powerful, and it’s a good price as well.  It’s around £500 for the whole set.  I believe that it’s mostly suitable for mild to severe deafness.  I wouldn’t say it’s suitable for all profoundly deaf people.  It’s suitable for people who love listening to, and love their music, and the pen may be important to them. In the past we had the loop systems, which had no privacy or security.  There was no security or encryption at that time.

When I went to university, I would have to set it up in one room, and then move it to all the different rooms every time I moved rooms, then I had to move the loop system too; it was too much work. With this (The Roger Pen), it’s portable so you just sit it in its holder, and it’s also multimedia, so it will connect to iPads, TVs, Tablets and music, any of those things where you can hear music and talking.

It’s also compatible with any hearing aids and BAHA cochlear implants – any implant.  For me, it’s suitable for some aspects, like focusing on giving me an extra 20% sound in my hearing aids. If someone is talking, I get the clearest sound possible. Obviously, it depends on the room and the dynamics and how many people are in the room.  It also has a radio signal encryption.  It’s a wireless 2.4 GHz approved device as well:  the approval you have, licences etc. depends on your country, I’m not sure what approval you may have but I do like these (Roger pen). It’s good for me, as they have Bluetooth for the mobile phone, not for listening to the mobile, as I can’t really understand sound on mobiles as I am profoundly deaf. But remember it’s your choice.  One thing that’s important to say with a cochlear implant – it’s your choice – but some people have a cochlear implant or hearing aid and with the Roger pen it may be better when you’re out walking  – people say they can hear better.  (I have Phonak hearing aids, I don’t know what you’ve got, or how good they are).

At a party, in a busy street with cars whizzing past, or somewhere with a lot of noise around, cochlear implant users talking to somebody will only pick up around 2% to 5% of what is being said: but from external research and reviews that I’ve read, with one of these (Roger Pen), a cochlear implant user or hearing aid user can pick up and understand around 82% of what’s being said.  That’s a massive improvement and makes a big difference. So it’s worth thinking about.  Please contact me with any comments, or if you want to share any information.  Thank you for watching.

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Remote Captioning Service

Remote Captioning Service 

Remote caption is a service that provides captions (subtitles) remotely on any internet enabled device in the world.  It is amazing technology as the speech to text reporter is not required to be on-site.  The benefit of using remote captions is to enable a person to follow a conversation without straining to listen and lip-read.

Stenographers and Palantypists are used for captioning services, they work from home dialing the user via telephone, teleconference calls or using VOIP software such as Skype, to listen in on a conversation.  All conversations are typed up word by word using a special keyboard – words instantly appear on screen within seconds allowing deaf and hard of hearing people real-time communication which is extremely important for situations such as team meetings or teleconference calls.

With the same user account it is possible to stream captions to multiple web browsers as no plug-in is required; smartphones and tablets do not need an app to be installed.

When captions are complete the entire conversation can be downloaded providing immediate access to transcripts; therefore no-one is required to take notes.  Transcripts can be copied and pasted for your own use.

Electronic notetaking is a cheaper service than the ones already mentioned, however word for word captions are not provided.  A typist listens to a conversation and the summarizes key points.

We can provide other services such as off-line captions, audio description as video description (makes a description about what happening during natural pauses in audio) e.g. TV, dance, opera, movies and others, translation e.g. French to English and transcript reports.

Off line captions are captions prepared in advance for example subtitles for a video clip or film making both accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Captioning Services: 

  • UK STTR: Speech-to-text Reporter  USA CART: Communication Access Realtime Translation (Court reporter/ stenographer/ palantypist, shorthand machine)
  • Output/Word Speed: STTR (180wpm – 250 wpm) CART (up to 300wpm)
  • Accuracy: 98.5% – 99% verbatim
  • Content: Can work with varied content
  • Preparation: Little / none needed, they can just turn up
  • Health & Safety: 1-8 hours, 10 mins break each hour, can work alone
  • Quality Benchmark: UK (NRCPD) USA (NCRA)
  • Length of training required: 6 years

You can watch my video in sign language with English voiceover: to use subtitles; closed captions and auto translate click on Settings icon (wheel icon on bar)

 

Video Transcript

Welcome to commaccess.net.  Today’s topic is going to be the Remote Caption Service.  This is a service that is ‘live’ and can be booked in advance.  You can see it here on the television screen in front of you.

Remember, if I was a person that could hear, my speech would be appearing on the screen very, very instantaneously but because I’m a deaf person, my sign language is having to go through a sign language interpreter to be voiced over so you can see there is a slight delay in the transcript appearing on the screen.  I am using a laptop today, to be able to connect to the service, but also you are able to connect using mobile devices and other smart technology.  This is a smart TV that I’m using.  There is also a smart telephone down here that I’m able to connect to the transcript using.  You have to make sure that you log in to be able to access the service.

Just to show you quickly here. You can see that the live transcript is also appearing on my smartphone and on my tablet.  Also, can I show you how I’m able to log in on my laptop.  Just wait a moment while I log in again.  You are able to see here that the background is white but you are able to change the background colour if you prefer.  You are also able to change the font size.  You can e mail the remote caption service company in advance with any terminology, maybe a list or glossary that would be of particular interest for the thing you have booked the transcript service for, or you can book a live service on the same day.  Obviously, that would be a challenge for the person at the other end of the service, having to type up the information, but it is possible.  The people booked through this service are able to type 180-300 words a minute.

So using my laptop and also the smart devices that I’m connected to, all of these devices are accessing the remote captioning service live, as we’re speaking now.  What is also interesting is that this is a service that is provided all over the world and that it can be accessed using 30 different spoken languages.

This service can be accessed using free calls on Skype, which is absolutely fantastic.  If you don’t have access to the Skype service, you can also use your telephone line.  That would be charged at a standard rate for UK calls and whatever those charges would be for foreign calls. This could be a very useful service to use in a lecture theatre or in a large conference and it can obviously be accessed through any device which uses the internet.  Imagine how useful it would be to have this service projected on to a screen within a lecture theatre or conference scenario.

Like I was saying earlier, you are able to change the background colour, say, from white to black or to yellow if you would like it brighter.  Let me just see now, whether I can change the colour?  I’ll show you how.  Just very quickly.  If you click here, then here, you can see that the colour has changed here on the laptop screen and the font size can be changed up to 72pt, so you can offer a very large print service, which is extremely useful.

I’m able to use this within work hours using my Access to Work budget to fund the service.  Thank you very much for watching me.  Remember all these services are your choice.  If this is something you would like the look of, by all means research it further.  You will be able to find more information on my blog about different topics www.commaccess.net you can see the address it here on the screen now.

You can watch my video in sign language with English voiceover: to use subtitles; closed captions and auto translate click on Settings icon (wheel icon on bar)

Video Transcript:

Today, this is the second video where I’m going to be talking about the remote captioning service.  There are three very important things I wanted to make you aware of.  The first is that the NRCPD, which is the National Register or Communication Professionals for Deaf and Deafblind people, benchmark this service.  That is a UK register.  The other thing is, if you use this as a live remote captioning service that means that, when this recording is finished, you will be sent a free transcript, which is a very simple service and very useful to use.

The other thing is I wanted to tell you just a quick story about using this service.  There have been times when I’ve been in conference and have had two British sign language interpreters who are both fully qualified and that when I was wanting to ask a question they were able to voice over for me.  So I would have one interpreter voicing over for me and the other interpreter would sign back to me what the first interpreter was voicing over and that gave me the confidence to feel that my voice over was being interpreted very clearly.  It’s always difficult as a deaf person in a professional environment when you have one interpreter and you are unable to access how your voice over is being presented.  So having the transcript service, the remote captioning service, available, is extremely useful to be able to check that your voice over is being conveyed correctly.  It might be useful in environments like lectures, during a court appearance or at other events and using this service you are able to see that your sign language is being translated into English.  It’s very similar to the experience that you get watching television, where you have a British Sign Language interpreter and then also subtitling underneath so you get the support of the English captioning but also the sign language from your sign language interpreter.

Thank you very much and thank you for the interpreter for voicing over and also thank you to the remote ‘captioner’ for his time.  This is a live booking today so it’s very good for you to be able to see this example.  Thank you!

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Video Relay Service

Video Relay Service

VRS 1Video Relay Service is popular amongst the deaf communities in many countries.  VRS was introduced and widely used in Sweden and the United States of America a long time before it was introduced in the UK; the service has been used in the UK since 2005.  More providers of this service have developed over the years and  are available either by making advance appointments or on demand.  I personally prefer on-demand as it’s realistic; making a phone call is a decision usually made with immediate effect.

VRS works by connecting with a Sign Language Interpreter who will then contact the person I wish to speak to: a GP, supplier, council, bank etc.

VRS 2VRS has developed considerably by working through website and mobile phone communication apps via Smartphones, Tablets or through a variety of new computer technologies.  These are highly accessible and contact with a registered, qualified interpreter can be easily made through my iPad, iPhone, Android mobile, Tablets, PC and Macs.

My first language is British Sign Language and I require a Sign Language Interpreter to voice over information on my behalf to my customers; VRS gives me a sense of freedom to be able to make phone calls and I believe other deaf people who use this service will feel the same.

VRS interpreters are all in-house using a secure, confidential environment; this is cost effective as no delays occur due to a noisy environment and there are no travel expenses.  Other positives include: no cancellation fees; conversations are ‘real-time’ allowing the deaf user and the recipient to communicate freely in both BSL and spoken language.

  • On-Demand, no booking is required and calls are answered, on average, in less than 50 seconds;
  • VRI, Video Remote Interpreting for face to face communication for when the client and hearing member of staff are present;
  • VRS, Video Relay Service for deaf people who use BSL as their first language.  Allows contact to organisations such as the council to enquire, for example, about a technical issue with their equipment or to confirm a social worker will be in the office before a visit thus avoiding a wasted journey; It is a bit like making a telephone call via textrelay/typetalk but using a live interpreter via video. A direct link can be put on the council web-site;
  • Internet mobile devices, this service can be used via an app on the iOS/Android mobile devices as well as personal computers. Beware of excess mobile costs on monthly data plans on 3G/4G networks;
  • Cost effective; you only pay for the minutes you’ve used;

You can watch my video in sign language with English voiceover: to use subtitles; closed captions and auto translate click on Settings icon (wheel icon on bar)

Video Transcript:

Hi, and welcome again to www.commaccess.net website where we share technology, ideas and networks to eliminate barriers.  Today we’ll be talking about Video Relay Service (VRS): some of you may already know that the UK, America and Sweden have already set up a VRS service.

It is very important for deaf BSL users to be able to connect to other people: hearing people can do that easily on the phone, but it’s harder for us.  It gives us the freedom and the independence to make our own calls.  You can do it on a smart phone, on a tablet or a laptop; you just click on the app and the interpreter appears on the screen.  You type in the phone number of the person you want to call with a brief explanation – it can be done on the laptop too – and then you are put through. Sorted!  Remember its working hours so access to work government funds can be used to support the VRS service.

You can call HMRC for tax related Issues, or DWP for access to work, or other professionals to make appointments too.  It is work focused, but you can also contact social workers and councils through a direct payment system, if you set up your own account. If you own your own business, you can set up your own account, why not?

Remember, when teleconferencing sometimes at work or at the office, and you need to call other countries abroad or other places in the UK – well, you can use teleconference calls by giving them a pin number: you give it to the interpreter, and they phone the voice number using the pin, then they can dial-in to the conference call, and you take part in the conference call in the same way everybody else does.  It could be for an hour, two hours or three hours, it doesn’t matter about the length of time.

VRI is wonderful because if you’re encouraging someone to learn sign language, but they can’t sign yet, you could bring them along at work, for example, or to meetings, you can put a screen on (you can use an iPhone, smart phone or tablet), and you get a VRI interpreter on the screen, (but unlike VRS,  they don’t make phone calls for you): VRI interpret for you, so as they speak they will sign to you, as you sign they will speak  to the learner.

Also, and this is very important, we often get people coming to the door, knocking on the door and talking to us, but of course there is often no one around to help us. That’s where VRI Video Remote Interpreting can come in on your phone: you sign to them on the phone or your tablet or laptop, and then they voice over your signing for you.

Importantly, you can find VRS on websites such as the council; hospital and broadband providers; it is often under ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Accessibility’. So if you have a medical problem; or you’re ill; or you have a number of issues like the electricity going off; or you have plumbing issues and you need to contact the Water Board; you can contact them via their own website.  The repair person then turns up at the door and it’s sorted.

It gives us the independence, freedom and equality that we want to have alongside hearing people.  Finally, I know a lot of people love Facetime, it’s very popular.  Well, via VRS you can become a member with them, then they offer you their service, then you have a login and a password, this is similar to VRS and VRI, but also you can have BSL direct, which means that if other deaf people have it, you can click on them, join up and have a conversation in sign language directly with them.  Please share this in your countries and other regions, and thank you for watching.

IMPORTANT: You can use VRS using a tablet, laptop or smartphone.  First you have to log in and type in your password, then you dial the phone number.  Always remember it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on the time allocated to your budget. The Access to Work budget is for the VRS.

Once you have make contact e.g. HMRC, making appointments or anything relevant to your work. You dial the number and the VRS Interpreter appears on your screen with a head set on and ready to take your call.  I briefly tell the Interpreter who I’m calling and their role. The call is made and we have the conversation and it’s that simple. Before I would have to rely on family and friends to make a call for me and I wouldn’t be fully involved.

Disability Student Allowance (DSA), the students could have a budget for VRS and but they need to get in contact with Social Services or the council.  You could explain that your living Independently and for example if you receive a bill that’s too high and you need to make that call, you could VRS.

You could have an assessment and then you would be qualified for your Access to Work, your VRS then you would set up your Direct Payment. Or if you wish to set up your own business you would have to pay for the service yourself. That’s 4 different options. VRS is focused on BSL users, to make calls from there smart phones, laptops and smart tablets one can use 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi.

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