Monday, November 19, 2012

Calling Bank through Video Relay

Video relay service is one of the best  modern technology, which has enabled deaf to have an effective communication. However, there are times where it can’t deliver all communication needs that deaf need. The reason is not that video relay services do not provide or deaf do not get access to it, but those whom we call using video phones don’t always understand the importance of it.  It has come in to my attention that, it is really hard to use video phone for calling bank to talk about sensitive materials such as  issue with your credits card.

I had issue with my credit card over the weekend, and I called my bank(Chase) using video relay to inquire  why I could not make purchases with my credit card which got denied when I tried to make purchase few times. The person who talked to me, told me that they can’t access to my account, and they will call me back.  Apparently, the lady who answered my call never had experience with video relay calls. The interpreter told her that, I am deaf and she is facilitating our communication. Nevertheless, instead of fixing the issue with my card, they placed my account on hold, because they suspected the interpreter. Thus, I was not able to buy anything during the weekend with my card- and since their office is closed during the weekend, I had to wait until Monday.

When I went to the bank and told them what happened, they called people who run credit card transaction which in return told them that they put my account on hold because of suspection. In order to unblock it, they asked the banker who called them to let them talk to me. I told them that I am deaf and if they want want to talk to me, to call my video phone. They told the banker to hand the phone to me and tell them what was the last payment I made on the card. I had to voice on the phone despite that I could not hear. I was not happy that they insisted to hear my voice instead of just fixing my problem even though I was with the banker. I was also shocked that they place on hold my card without alerting me .  While, I understand that, they do things like these   for their customer’s safety, I still think they should have a way to communicate with deaf customers. If they don’t trust phone calls, then they should not have one. Because it is  unfair for deaf customers to not to be able to call their banks when they need sensitive services.  They should have video call centers like they have phone call centers or get rid of all phone services!!.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Media Scrutiny of Interpreter Lydia callis

If you have been following  the news recently, there has been circulating story about sign language interpreter who interpreted for New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg during his news brief about Hurricane Sandy. Some news media have focused their attention on the interpreter and her facial expression  during her interpretation which i think   is not good for professional interpreters and sign language users. .

The news media are making fun of how sign language facial expression can be amusing  and how it can redirect the attention from the main speaker to the interpreter. Instead of thinking about the importance of this language, New York times writes about the interpreter Lydia,  “With her smartly coiffed short dark hair and sharp suits, she literally throws her whole body into signing, from her head to her hands to her hips”.  While this statement may sound as praising for some people,  I feel that is disrespectful to the interpreter. They did not have to talk about her look or her body. Nicole Steinberger an  interpreter at Rochester Institute of Technology(RIT)  who is also women’s senator at RIT student government says,“ While I think the world should have a better understanding of sign language, interpreting, and Deaf culture, I do not think it should be at the expense of an interpreter's self worth. Our work is our work, it's not about our hips or hair, and when the media takes it to that level, the real message is completely lost”.  I just hate how these media would do anything to make money.

Daniel Maffic, sign language instructor at National Technical institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology says ““For people who do know me but are unfamiliar with the work that we ASL/English interpreters do, please know that it takes a lot of time and training to do what we do” He further added “ I am disappointed with America's response to the "Hurricane Sandy interpreter".   The work of an interpreter takes a lot of training mentally  and physically. It has never been easy for interpreters to deliver messages in sign language where interpreters have to listen and sign at the same time.

Sign language is a beautiful  language that deaf people  use. I am glad that our beautiful sign language is getting an attention, however, at same time, I disagree with how  some media are making it as an amusing language instead of showing it as very effective and wonderful language. I am very impressed with Lydia’s skills,  and how she was able to deliver the message to Deaf people  in a perfect way. I am sure it was not easy for her  to interpreter in such difficult times.. Kudos sign language interpreters!