Viable Launches Trilingual Service for ViableVRS Users and Spanish Speakers

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Free 24/7 service will allow sign language users and Spanish speakers to communicate over the telephone.

Viable, a deaf-owned provider of video relay services (VRS) for deaf and hard of hearing people, is pleased to announce Spanish language capability for ViableVRS users who want to communicate with family and friends who speak Spanish.

(Lea este mensaje en Español: http://www.viable.net/company/release/2009/2/9/1)

In a VRS call, deaf and hard of hearing people who communicate in sign language use video technology to connect to an interpreter, who will dial out to another party then interpret their phone conversation. No special equipment is needed on the hearing person's end. With ViableVRS, the service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and all calls are free to or from anywhere in the world, as long as one of the calling parties is in the United States.

The Spanish language offering is made possible through a partnership with Innovative Communication Services for the Deaf (ICSDeaf), a Miami-based sign language interpreting agency that specializes in the trilingual market. "We are proud to partner with Viable in unveiling trilingual VRS," said ICSDeaf co-owner Yosbel Buscaron, who was born in Havana, Cuba. "ICSDeaf and Viable share much in common; we both are young, minority-owned companies with a deep passion and commitment to communication access and community empowerment. Our core values and service philosophy are a perfect fit, and we look forward to providing top-notch trilingual VRS."

ViableVRS had a soft launch on November 1 and John Paul Jebian, a deaf man from Venezuela who lives in Miami and has two kids with his Spanish-speaking wife Maribel, has been using ViableVRS. "To communicate with my wife is very important. When my son was sick at home, I was able to call my wife. ViableVRS has also helped me communicate with my parents and my mother-in-law."

"At first my wife and my parents did not know what VRS was so I explained it to them and they were shocked that I have a way of communication that is equal to others. With ViableVRS, it is easy for me to use sign language interpreters who can translate between sign language and Spanish. I can communicate with hearing people!"

"There is a need to provide VRS to Hispanics who speak only Spanish to connect with those in their lives who are deaf or hard of hearing and communicate primarily in sign language," said John T.C. Yeh, who is deaf and the president of Viable. "Trilingual service via ViableVRS provides those deaf and hard of hearing people with convenient communication access to Spanish-speaking people both nationally and abroad, at home and at work."

Spanish speakers who are hearing can reach deaf and hard of hearing people by calling them directly at their Viable Number, a ten-digit phone number administered by Viable. Their call will automatically route through ViableVRS and they need only to say "Español" or "Spanish" to be transferred to a trilingual interpreter who will complete the call and relay the phone conversation.

Deaf and hard of hearing people have convenient options for calling Spanish speakers through ViableVRS. They can dial sp.viablevrs.tv:

  • Via Viable Vision, a VRS software application for PC users developed by Viable
  • Via the VPAD, a videophone hardware developed by Viable
  • Via any videophone
  • Via XMeeting for Mac users

More information is available in both Spanish and English at http://www.viable.net/vrs/spanish.

About Viable, Inc.
Viable develops videophones and provides next-generation video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing persons, opening them to a world of communication possibilities. Founded in 2006, Viable is a private, deaf-owned company, and many employees are deaf and hard of hearing and are personally vested in the innovation and development of the company's products and services. Visit http://www.viable.net for further information.

About Innovative Communication Services for the Deaf
ICSDeaf is Latino-owned and Latino-operated, and has provided sign language and translation services with a trilingual market specialty since 2006. Based in Miami, ICSDeaf has a nationwide network of trilingual interpreters and operates nationally. Please visit http://www.icsdeaf.com to learn more about ICSDeaf.    

About Telecommunications Relay Services
Mandated by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, telecommunications relay services (TRS) enables individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to achieve functional equivalence by accessing telephone systems to place or receive calls through an intermediary known as a relay operator or relay interpreter. Emergent IP technology has given rise to video-based solutions, which are known as video relay services (VRS). VRS options include using a webcam or a videophone to connect to a video relay interpreter, and allow deaf and hard of hearing callers for whom sign language is native to fully achieve the ideal of functional equivalence.

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Glenn Lockhart

Yosbel Buscaron
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