See Hear: The rise of video relay

A weekly helping of news of interest to the deaf community, compiled by the See Hear team.

For the last 20 years, if deaf people have wanted to communicate with someone over the phone – normally a very inaccessible thing to do – those in the UK have relied on BT’s text relay service, previously known as TypeTalk, to make assisted phone calls.

The deaf person types a message using software on their smartphone or computer, or a special text phone, and an operator at the service relays it to a hearing person.

Many deaf sign language users struggle with this system because to use it effectively, they need a good grasp of written English.

For many BSL is their first language, not English and they would prefer to conduct phone conversations via a sign language interpreter. However sign language interpreters can be expensive and difficult to book at short notice.

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The interpreter’s lovely manner and professionalism greatly aided the whole therapy process.