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Providing information, training, and resources on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada & the Pacific Basin (Region 9)

Need ADA Assistance? 1-800-949-4232 (Voice/TTY) or Email Us

Video Relay Services (VRS)

Video Relay Service (VRS), allows people who use American Sign Language are able to place phone calls by signing instead of typing. The VI (video interpreter) uses a web cam or videophone to voice the Deaf or Speech-Disabled person's signs to the Hearing person and sign the Hearing person's words to the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing person.

How it works

  1. An individual that communicates by American Sign Language, or another mode of manual communication, such as Signing Exact English, Pidgin Signed English, Linguistics of Visual English, uses a videophone or other camera-enabled device, such as a web cam to connect via broadband Internet to a Video Relay Service.
  2. The caller is routed to a sign language interpreter, known as a Video Interpreter (VI). The VI is in front of a camera or videophone.
  3. The VRS user gives the VI the number to dial, as well as any special dialing instructions.
  4. The VI places the call and interprets in normal mode as a neutral, non-participating third-party. Anything that the phone user speaks is signed to the video user, and anything signed by the video user is spoken to the phone user.
  5. Once the call is over, the caller can make another call(s) or hang up with the interpreter.

Telephone users can contact a Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, or Speech-Disabled person via VRS. To initiate a VRS call the hearing person calls the VRS, and are connected to video interpreters who contact videophone users directly.

Some VRS services also offer:

  • Voice Carry Over: Using their own voice instead of the interpreter's voice
  • Hearing Carry Over: Using their own hearing instead of the interpreter's hearing
  • Language Preference: Informing the interpreter to use either American Sign Language or Signed English
  • Connecting to a sign language interpreter that can interpret into other languages, such as Spanish.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_Relay_Service#Video_Relay_Service