ASL Remote Interpreting: A 6 Piece Cheat Sheet to Ace Your Next ASL Meeting (Part 2)

We’re glad to see you back for the second piece of our ASL remote interpreting cheat sheet. (in case you missed it, hop over HERE).

Your ASL interpreter is briefed. The prep-meeting with the other party went perfectly, and you made sure your internet speed would be faster than the USS Enterprise. What next?

Tip 4: Have your IT team ready for your ASL remote interpreting meeting.

You’ve tested the connection and did everything to make sure the meeting would flow flawlessly. Still, there are days when Murphy’s law takes over the day. If this happens, you don’t want to be the one running around checking cables and restoring connections, because your input at the meeting is crucial. So make sure to always have one of your IT guardian angels by your side. Just in case. Better be safe than sorry.

Tip 5: Widen the horizons of your ASL remote interpreting meeting—literally.

With our LingPerfect Interpreting App, you can connect from any device. Still, when dealing with a remote ASL interpreting session, we suggest you opted for a wide-screen monitor, no less than 19 inches. Having a good visual of the hands and the face of the ASL interpreter will help your deaf or hard-of-hearing participant interpret the signs.

Tip 6: Lights, camera, action!

Visual communication is the only way your participant can communicate with you. So when setting up your remote ASL interpreting session, make sure you take some cues from Spielberg:

  • Test and adjust the lighting in the room so that your deaf or hard-of-hearing participant can be fully discernible.
  • Use a camera with a resolution no less than 720p. If you can get hold of a 1080p60, better.

Tip 7: Your downstairs Starbucks might not be the best spot for your remote ASL remote interpreting meeting

Your light and camera setting will help ease communication between your deaf or hard of hearing counterpart and the ASL interpreter. But there’s another tandem to consider: the ASL interpreter and you. Sitting in an environment with background noise will make the ASL interpreter’s job more challenging to understand what you’re trying to say among the barista’s shouts and clinking cups.

So make sure you’ve secured a peaceful spot for your ASL remote interpreting meeting. It doesn’t have to be a soundproof recording studio, but it should be quiet enough so you and the ASL interpreter can hear each other well.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be ADA-compliant, too.

The US Department of Justice issued the “Effective Communication” guidelines under its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which should be met when organizing meetings with people with hearing, aid, or speech disabilities.  The list is available here, but if you follow our cheat sheet, you can rest assured that you’ve ticked off all of the Guideline’s boxes to be ADA-compliant.

Well, in truth, there’s one last requirement that ADA sets forth. Your language experts should be certified ASL interpreters. But you already know who to call to tick this last box, don’t you?






ASL Remote Interpreting: A 6 Piece Cheat Sheet to Ace Your Next ASL Meeting (Part 1)

Welcome back to our blog. With punch bowls cleaned and opinable sweaters safely stored on the uppermost shelves of our closets, it’s time to get back to work. And what better way to start the year with than a good old cheat sheet. Better still: a list that helps your business be more inclusive.

The turmoils of the past year do not require particular highlighting. With everything that’s been happening, it’s no wonder our LingPerfect Interpreting team has seen a surge in demand for remote interpreting

Inside remote interpreting, though, there is a specific service we haven’t talked about yet. What happens when you need to set up a meeting with the Deaf or Hard of hearing community members? How does the presence of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter affect the setting?

Because ASL remote interpreting requires both audio and visual support, the choice between Phone (OPI) and Video (VRI) is clear. 

But is choosing VRI all it takes to ace your ASL Remote interpreting session? Not quite. And here’s a checklist that will help you ace it.

Tip 1: Set up a pre-meeting before your ASL remote interpreting session

With interpreting, think of the language expert as an extension to the speaking party. A lot of what is said is conveyed with facial expressions and body language. And nowhere is this truer than in ASL interpreting

Getting to know your “eyes and ears” in advance is worth a treasure for both the interpreter and your attendee. So if you can, set up a pre-meeting between the ASL language expert and the attendee requiring the interpretation. Your meeting’s success will be guaranteed.

Tip 2: Help your ASL remote interpreter prepare

Yes. Another prep-step. But you know the drill: planning is half the success. As any language expert, ASL interpreters, too, juggle between a wealth of terms and expressions. They might have used the sign for deforestation sometime in their life, but it doesn’t mean they can call it up off the cuff. 

Help your ASL interpreter by sending the agenda and any useful material like presentations to allow time to dust off any rusty terms.

Tip 3: Don’t save on bandwidth for your ASL remote interpreting meeting.

The success of your ASL remote interpreting session is directly opposed to the number of screen freezes and lagging audio. Make sure you’re plugged into a speedy network. If possible—even if it sounds obsolete—connect your device to the router directly with w WLAN cable. Cable still beats WiFi, even in 2021.

More on ASL Remote interpreting next week

We made our cheat sheet into a diptych lest it would be too much after so much eggnog and (Zoom) get-togethers with family. Tune in next week to discover the second set of tips for a successful ASL remote interpreting meeting.


Phone vs video: which remote interpreting service is better for you?

One of the side effects of the recent turmoil has been a roaring shift of business towards the online realm. The cyberspace has provided a safe haven for many businesses, securing them with at least some level of business continuity. Interviews have become phone calls. Team meetings have turned into zoom videos. Naturally, interpreters have started to work remotely, too. But when it comes to remote interpreting, we’ve noticed our clients have some trouble choosing between phone and video remote interpreting. Which one is better? Keep on reading to find out their pros and cons, and our final verdict.

Phone Interpreting

What is it?

Over-the-phone interpreting, or simply OPI, is essentially a conference call between two parties and the interpreter. Usually, over-the-phone interpreting is done in consecutive mode. 

Pros of Phone Interpreting:

  • Availability. This type of remote interpreting is most readily available because it only requires a phone connection. In fifteen seconds, it can you can get connected to over 200 languages. How is that for breaking language barriers?
  • Price. Of course, interpreting rates depend heavily on the language combination you’re looking for. But as a general rule, phone interpreting rates are lower than video remote interpreting. 

Cons of Phone Interpreting:

  • You can’t rely on body language. In some situations, non-verbal communication can be critical for an accurate interpretation service. Apart from the tone of voice, phone interpreting can give little insight into what else is being said with posture or facial expression.  
  • Not suitable for the DFHH community. If your audience consists of people with a hearing impairment, phone interpreting is not an option.

Video Remote Interpreting 

What is it?

In video remote interpreting (VRI), the parties connect through an online platform that provides both video and audio support, so all participants can hear and see each other. 

Pros of Video Remote Interpreting:

  • You get visual support. This makes it the closest alternative to on-site interpreting. It’s particularly useful in stressful situations like medical interviews, or tough business negotiations. 
  • It suits all segments of the population. Because of the visual component, VRI is your go-to remote interpreting service when you need to communicate with a Deaf or Heard of Hearing person. 

Cons of Video Remote Interpreting:

  • Price. Mind you, compared to on-site interpreting, it’s still a significant saving. But compared to phone interpreting, it does come at a slightly higher price tag. 
  • Internet connection. VRI needs a stable high-speed internet connection. If the setting you’re in can’t guarantee it, avoid it. A bad connection is worse than no connection at all.

OPI vs VRI: The verdict

Both types of remote interpreting services come with their advantages and shortcomings. There isn’t an all-time winner. Instead, it’s the context of your meeting that should define which option to go for. 

To sum up, here is what we recommend:

Go for phone interpreting when:

  • It’s last-minute. You’re in hot haste and need a language expert within minutes? Phone interpreters are more readily available than video interpreters. 
  • You’re unsure about internet stability. Don’t risk ruining the meeting with frozen screens and sound cut-offs. If one of the attendees has a weak internet signal, go for phone interpreting. 
  • There is an established relationship between the attendees. In a medical context, it will be challenging to discuss a first doctor-patient meeting via phone. In that case, VRI would be a better choice. However, once the is an established relationship, switching to OPI will save time and money.

Go for video remote interpreting when:

  • You need a sign language interpreter. Make sure to ask in advance if anyone attending has a hearing impairment.
  • The gist is not in the words. First medical appointments, delivering a tough diagnosis, a heated business negotiation… Everyone will benefit if they see each other rather than just hear each other.
  • You can ensure support from IT. For important meetings, it would be good to make some VRI tests beforehand and have IT back up on-site if anything goes south.