CAD to Pioneer Real-Time Interpretation Services

News & Events

CAD to Pioneer Real-Time Interpretation Services

July 4, 2007

OTTAWA – The Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) is pleased to announce that it has received funding to pioneer an important new initiative designed to make it possible for members of the Deaf community who use sign language to communicate effectively in face to face situations with those who do not – without having a sign language interpreter accompany them to the meeting.

CAD will establish a national call-centre service, delivering sign language interpretation via the Internet to allow Deaf Canadians to communicate in situations like banking, voting, or buying something in a store with remote access to interpreters on demand. Funded by a grant from Industry Canada, and with additional support from CAD’s partners this system would be placed in a variety of locations including banks, shopping centres, or government offices.

The Visible Languages Translation Initiative (VLTI) system would connect users to interpreters working in a call-centre setting who could facilitate communication with others who might not be able to communicate in sign language. In addition to providing American Sign Language (ASL) and Langues des Signes Québecois (LSQ) remotely, the video consoles will also be equipped to display text.

“This technology would provide organizations with the ability to deal face to face with customers who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing,” said Jim Roots, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of the Deaf. “This is an important new initiative that is very much needed.”

The new project will be managed by Rick Sinclair, senior consultant from Sinclair Nicholson and Associates based in Ottawa. He commented, “The VLTI project is coming in at a crucial time. With the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) being implemented, over 800,000 businesses and organizations in Ontario will be required to make at least some changes to accommodate persons with a disability. Many in the private sector are also realizing that it presents an opportunity for an increase of 10%-15% in market share, by addressing consumers who have not been accommodated well in the past. The minute we mention it, we are seeing instant interest.”

The Canadian Association of the Deaf is actively looking for corporate partners to help realizing this important pioneering initiative.

For more information, please contact:

Rick Sinclair
Manager, VLTI Project
TTY: +1 (613) 565-8882
Voice: +1 (613) 565-2882
Fax: +1 (613) 565-1207