Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of Video Relay Service (VRS) for people who are deaf and use sign language to communicate, announced the opening of a new Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS) interpreting center in Spokane, Wash.
The new center will operate in conjunction with the 100-plus other Sorenson VRS interpreting centers in major cities throughout the U.S.
"Adding another SVRS interpreting center in Spokane demonstrates Sorenson's commitment to us in the deaf community - to provide access to professional SVRS interpreters, empowering us to fully communicate in our native language - American Sign Language (ASL)," notes Ron Burdett, Sorenson vice president of community relations.
Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS) is a no-cost, government-funded service that empowers people who are d who use ASL to conduct video relay calls with hearing people, 24/7, through a qualified ASL interpreter.
Calls can be conducted using a videophone, high-speed internet connection and a standard TV, or through a mobile device, such as a smartphone with a front-facing camera or a computer.
When a deaf caller places a VRS call to a hearing person, an ASL interpreter appears on the screen.
The caller with a hearing disability signs to the interpreter, who is fluent in ASL and spoken English.
The interpreter speaks the message to the hearing recipient.
The hearing caller responds and the interpreter signs the message back to person with a hearing disability, thus "relaying" the conversation between them.
SVRS closely simulates a conversation between two hearing people, something the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) calls "functional equivalency." Title IV of the ADA mandates access to functionally-equivalent communications for deaf people.
"Sorenson Communications is committed to providing the best-possible SVRS experience for our customers who are deaf and for hearing callers," notes Chris Wakeland, vice president of interpreting for Sorenson. "That means the new Spokane center and each Sorenson VRS interpreting center in the U.S. is staffed with the highest-quality interpreters - professionals who are dedicated to providing excellent interpreting for every call."