DLA tests remote interpreting service for deaf employees

The Defense Logistics Agency is working to implement a tablet- and desktop-based remote interpretive service for deaf employees.

The "virtual remote interpreting" service, which is in testing at DLA Headquarters, brings up a sign-language interpreter for a live video chat, according to a Defense Department news item.

The effort to create the service was spearheaded by Debra Simpson, the program analysis master planning branch chief for DLA Energy, when she sought a way to avoid relying strictly on email to communicate with deaf employees when a physical interpreter is not available.

That trial, which has been underway for more than a month, has generated positive results, Simpson said. The service will be less expensive than live interpreters because it is billed by the minute rather than by larger blocks of time.

While the program will not replace live interpreters, the eventual goal is to provide tablets to all 120 to 140 deaf DLA employees—as well as a desktop app for them and for those with whom they regularly communicate.

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