- Video Relay Services (VRS) provide an internet-based solution for real-time communication with sign language interpreters.
- Closed captioning software makes conversations easier to follow with customizable text size, word highlighting, and larger font sizes.
- Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and FaceTime can offer sign language interpretation services in real-time.
- Vibrating alarm clocks and signalers help alert deaf employees of important tasks and events.
- Text messaging and instant messaging tools make communication more effective between colleagues while providing a personal connection.
As a business owner, ensuring that all your employees have equal access to your company’s resources and tools is essential. This includes employees with disabilities, such as deafness. Fortunately, numerous technologies available can assist your deaf employees in performing their job tasks and communicating more effectively with their colleagues. This guide will discuss five technologies you can utilize to support your deaf employees and create a more inclusive workplace.
1. Video Relay Services
By providing video relay services (VRS) for your deaf employees, they can easily communicate with their colleagues or customers in real-time with the help of a sign language interpreter. All that is required to use VRS is an internet connection, a webcam, and a computer or mobile device. With this technology, your deaf employees can make phone calls or video conference with their colleagues, making remote work a possibility. Offering VRS will ensure that your deaf employees have equal access to your company’s communication channels, which is essential for their professional development.
2. Closed Captioning
You can use the right software to improve the experience of your deaf employees significantly. Specialized software for the hearing impaired allows your deaf employees to view text-based transcripts in real-time, with options for increased font size, background color, and custom settings. This type of software is designed with accessibility in mind, making it easier for your deaf employees to follow along with conversations. In addition to providing closed captioning, software for the hearing impaired can include features such as automatic word highlighting and customizable text size. This allows your deaf employees to easily follow along with the conversation, ensuring they are not left behind due to their disability.
3. Video Conferencing Platforms with Sign Language Interpretation
As an employer, you can ensure that your deaf employees are not left out of critical meetings or discussions by using video conferencing platforms with sign language interpretation. Popular platforms now offer this service, which utilizes a sign language interpreter who translates spoken words into sign language in real-time. This technology has become increasingly important recently, especially due to the pandemic.
Here are some platforms you can utilize:
Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform that offers sign language interpretation services to its users. With this feature, you can easily connect with deaf employees or customers in real time and ensure that everyone can participate in the conversation. It takes a few clicks to access the interpreter, who will be viewable on your screen as they translate spoken words into sign language. If necessary, you can invite multiple interpreters from different languages and even record conversations for reference later.
Microsoft Teams is another great option for employers looking to involve deaf employees in meetings and discussions. It offers an integrated sign language interpreter service that allows both sides of the conversation to converse with each other without missing a beat. The interpreter can be accessed with just a few clicks, and you can select the language you’d like them to interpret. You can also record conversations for later reference or training purposes.
Skype, another popular video conferencing platform, offers sign language interpretation services for its users. All you need to do is click the “call an interpreter” button from the call menu and select a sign language interpreter from the list of available interpreters. This service enables your team members to communicate effectively with deaf customers or employees in real time, regardless of their geographical location.
FaceTime is Apple’s video conferencing solution which now offers sign language interpretation services. You must tap the button in the bottom left corner of your call screen and select an interpreter from the list of available interpreters. Your interpreter will then appear on the screen and provide real-time translations of the conversation between both sides. This service helps ensure that deaf employees or customers are included in conversations and can participate fully without missing any important details.
4. Vibrating Alarm Clocks and Signalers
By providing your deaf employees with vibrating alarm clocks and signalers, you can ensure they are alerted to important events and tasks. These devices can be connected to smartphones, computers, or other electronic devices, making them useful for remote work. Vibrating alarm clocks and signalers alert deaf employees through vibration or flashing lights, allowing them to work effectively and meet deadlines. Investing in these devices is essential in creating a workplace suitable for everyone. You can rest assured that your deaf employees will be alerted to meetings and tasks with vibrating alarm clocks and signalers.
5. Text Messaging and Instant Messaging
You can ensure your deaf employees stay connected to their colleagues by using text and instant messaging. These two technologies provide a quick and easy way for deaf employees to communicate with coworkers without relying on verbal communication. Not only are these methods useful for work-related conversations, but they also make it possible for employees to stay in touch personally. You can create a more inclusive and productive environment for all your employees by utilizing text messaging and instant messaging in your workplace.
Utilizing these five technologies can create a more inclusive workplace for your deaf employees. Providing equal access to communication channels, event notifications, and job-related tools is essential for their professional development and job satisfaction. By investing in these technologies, you can show your deaf employees that you value their contributions to the company and support their needs.