A recent conversation with Shanna Groves and Marsha Graham regarding the Girl Scouts unwillingness to utilize interpreters, got me to thinking. The Internet is the greatest invention of the 20th century because it creates channels of access that were previously unavailable.
Blog publishing is one example. Prior to the Internet, those of us who wanted to write, needed either a publisher or steady media employment. Now, anybody with an Internet connection can be another Proust.
The same holds true with communications technologies for the Deaf. In the old days, an ASL interpreter was the only option open to Deaf people seeking to communicate with the hearing. Now, we have numerous Internet and intranet options.
One such option is C.A.R.T. or Computer Assisted Realtime Translation. Here’s the link to the N.A.D. Page:
and here’s the Wiki page:
But there’s an option that I find even more exiting. Internet Interpreting. We already have videophone services that allow the Deaf to talk on regular phones without having to use the cumbersome typing keyboards associated with TTY communications.
Internet Interpreting would be essentially the same thing, but it could be done through something like Skype, allowing for interpreting services via laptop or even smartphone.
I don’t know if these services actually exist yet, but they should – and they can. They can be implemented fairly inexpensively, allow for increased employment and deployment of ASL interpreters, and vastly benefit both the Deaf and hearing communities.
The above image is a shot of dear old Eniac – the first real digital computer in the universe, circa 1944. It utilized tens of thousands of vacuum tubes, was programmed via punch tape and had the computing power of a modern digital wristwatch.