Meta adds sign language translation for portal video calls
Meta adds sign language translation for portal video calls

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is adding a Video Relay Service (VRS), or video translation service, to its video portal communication device, which enables users to bring sign language interpreters to English or Spanish language sites.

This new feature is part of a collaboration with ZP Better Together, a technology company that provides connectivity solutions for deaf and hard of hearing users.

A Meta spokeswoman stated that users must apply for a ZP Better Together account to confirm that they are eligible for the service, federally funded by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Portal services and devices are free of charge for authorized persons. These must be US VRS users and communicate in American Sign Language (ASL).

Once users have a ZP Better Together account and portal device, they can access the ASL translation service using the ZP Better Together app available on the Portal App Store.

The company said in a press release that ASL translators are on screen during gateway calls and are available 24/7.

During the pandemic, video calls are ubiquitous. While video calling services like Microsoft Teams and Zoom have closed captions, the nuances of conversation disappear when there is no sign language translator to provide focus and context.

Meta helps deaf and hard of hearing people communicate through the portal

As Meta pointed out, sign language is the main language of the deaf and hard of hearing. Therefore, this extension provides a new accessibility for gateway calls.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can order a free portal device at portal.zpvrs.com.

The company said: “Video calls have become a very important service that enables remote work and study at home. It can also be a lifeline for deaf and hard of hearing communities. But not everyone can communicate in sign language.

With VRS, members of the deaf and hard of hearing community can use sign language interpreters to communicate in real time with people of normal hearing.

And by providing on-screen sign language subtitles to aid communication. VRS enables deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, hard of hearing or hard of hearing people to make and receive calls at any time.

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