Sight translation by Mary Luczki.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and Video Relay Service (VRS) are both services that enable communication between deaf/hard of hearing individuals and those who use either spoken English or spoken Spanish.  What’s the difference, and why is there a need for two different services when they seem so similar at first glance?

Many different spoken languages are supported by video remote interpreting, not only American Sign Language (ASL). Intended to provide functional equivalence for telephone communication to deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
Privately funded and is more likely to be used in critical situations such as medical care, courts and first responders. Publicly funded and used for all kinds of purposes: from making appointments to ordering pizzas to chatting with a friend.
Enables two people, who speak different languages, in the same location (for example, a doctor and a patient) to communicate by using the services of a remote interpreter. Due to FCC requirements, VRS is limited to communication between individuals in two different locations, and at least one of the individuals must be deaf or hard of hearing.
All parties are able to see each other – for example, both patient and doctor are able to see the remote interpreter. Only the interpreter and the deaf person see each other. The person using spoken language hears the interpreter’s voice, but does not see that person or the deaf person. Essentially, the hearing person is simply talking on the telephone.
Requires high-speed internet and a computer with a webcam. No special equipment required on the part of the hearing person.

VRI and InDemand

The video remote interpreters at InDemand Interpreting are all nationally certified, have years of medical training and interpreting experience and many of them also have experience with other specialty areas such as legal and mental health. All interpreters are HIPAA trained and well versed in hospital protocol, procedures and ethical practices.

Both Video Remote Interpreting and Video Relay Service satisfy important needs in our increasingly diverse society. Although distinct, both seek to improve communication and language access.