Technology advances surge forward and collide with community practices in interpreter provision. How do we preserve best practices in interpreting while working with new technological realities? How do we keep Deaf heart in our interpreting in a world where the pace is always increasing? How do we reach through VRI’s 2-D screens to connect with our Deaf consumers?
My Deaf grandma often remarks on how lucky I am to have been born in this miraculous time, to have more access to information with a legal right to request interpreter access. She’s 98 and never expected to see interpreters through a screen at her doctor appointments! And she’s not sure if she likes it!
VRI creates a paradox for all of us and raises many questions: Do we cancel appointments if the WiFi is weak and live streamed video is choppy? Do Deaf consumers have a right to request in-person interpreter service if they’re not satisfied with VRI provision? Should the interpreters virtually “meet” the Deaf consumer before the appointment? What if the physical setup makes it hard for the Deaf consumer to see the screen? What are interpreter perspectives on VRI? What are Deaf perspectives? How can we educate the people who setup VRI? How do we approach these questions, combine the different perspectives and figure out priorities to preserve and protect quality communication and access? This workshop will explore the issues through the lens of Deaf people, sharing information collected through interviews and surveys.
As stakeholders, let’s tackle these difficult questions to make sure we become better advocates for best practices in VRI provision. While VRI can be both a blessing and a curse, it is here to stay and we can figure out how to make it more blessing than curse.