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Video Relay Service Interpreters

Intricacies of Sign Language Access

Jeremy L. Brunson

Publication Year: 2011

“Signed language interpreting is about access,” states author Jeremy L. Brunson at the outset of his new book, and no manifestation of access for deaf people can be considered more complex than video relay services (VRS). In Video Relay Service Interpreters: Intricacies of Sign Language Access, Brunson delineates exactly how complicated the service can be, first by analyzing sign language interpreting as a profession and its relation to both hearing and deaf clients. He describes how sign language interpreters function in Deaf communities and how regulatory processes imposed by VRS providers can constrain communication access based on each individual’s needs. Brunson proceeds by acclimating readers to the environment of VRS and how the layout of the typical physical plant alters the practice of interpreting. The focus then falls upon intended VRS users, providing insights into their expectations. Interpreters shared their experiences with Brunson in 21 formal interviews and discussions. Many remarked on the differences between face-to-face interpreting and VRS training, which often runs counter to the concept of relating informally with deaf clients as a way to expand access. This thoughtful, sociological study outlines texts that originate between users and interpreters and how they can be used to develop VRS access. Video Relay Service Interpreters concludes with the implications of VRS interpreting for sign language interpreting in general and suggests where scholarship will lead in the future.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

What does it mean to be a professional? What is the appropriate relationship between a professional and a consumer? How does society’s growing incorporation of technologies into everyday interactions complement and complicate these relations? It is these questions that are explored throughout this book. ...

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Chapter 1 - Toward a Sociology of Interpreting

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pp. 1-29

Sign language interpreting is about access. The simplicity of the statement, however, belies the actual work that goes into producing, facilitating, and providing access. Access occurs through people’s doings, both visible and invisible, both paid and unpaid. That is, access is the product of someone deciding to ask for an accommodation. ...

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Chapter 2 - The Architecture of Access

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pp. 30-64

Video relay service centers are the nexus at which various people’s work of creating access meet and become tangible. The architecture of the video relay centers is a broad term that refers not only to physical structures, but also the organization of activity within these spaces. The physical structure of the call center houses ...

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Chapter 3 - “VRS Puts Us on Equal Footing with Hearing People”

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pp. 65-81

The video relay service is intended to be used by Americans who use a sign language to communicate. This is not all deaf people. Quantifying any marginalized population, including people who are deaf, is as much about identity politics as it is about power. That is, who has the power to define, and what does the definition imply? ...

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Chapter 4 - “We’re Providing Access”

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pp. 82-106

All of the work, invisible and visible, discussed by the deaf people in chapter 3 is intricately linked to the sign language interpreter whose cubicle their call is dropped into. Sign language interpreters are people fluent in one or more forms of sign languages and a spoken language. They have learned, through formal training ...

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Chapter 5 - Textualizing the “On Call” and “Off Call” Interpreter

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pp. 107-136

Before 1990, access in the public sphere for people with disabilities was a luxury that depended on the kindness of others. The passage of the ADA made access for people with disabilities a right. Once the goal was established, states had to create a mechanism by which they could guarantee this goal, and create a protocol for ...

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Chapter 6 - Connecting the Dots and Pointing in New Directions

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pp. 137-152

Throughout this book, I have explored the work of access. In doing so, I have demonstrated a sociology of interpreting. Following Smith (1987) and other institutional ethnographers, I began my study in the everyday of interpreters and moved into the ruling relations that interpreters organize and are organized by, ...

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Appendix A - Methods and Procedures

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pp. 153-170

From the beginning, I conceptualized this project as an institutional ethnography. I wanted to explicate “the way things work” (DeVault and McCoy 2002) in the provision of VRS interpreting. This knowledge would allow me to understand how the work of sign language interpreters who work in video relay centers ...

Appendix B - Interpreter Certifications

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pp. 171-176

Appendix C - Letter Seeking Permission from VRS Provider

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pp. 177

Appendix D - Informed Consent Form — Interviews

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pp. 178-179

Appendix E - Informed Consent Form — Focus Groups

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pp. 180-181

Appendix F - Letter to Interpreters

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pp. 182-183

Appendix G - Interview Questions

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pp. 184

Appendix H - Focus Group Questions

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pp. 185-186


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pp. 187-196


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pp. 197-203

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684845
E-ISBN-10: 1563684845
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563684838
Print-ISBN-10: 1563684837

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 11 figures
Publication Year: 2011