Sorenson at Work
Frequently Asked Questions

Interpreting Options

Sorenson gives Deaf people a variety of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting options. Our Video Relay Service (VRS) offers American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting for telephone calls between a Deaf person and a hearing person in different locations. For situations that are ineligible for VRS (such as in-person gatherings), Sorenson offers Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and in-person interpreting. In each setting, we’re committed to delivering the highest-quality communication experience for both Deaf and hearing people. Below you will find answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


Deaf Calling

How Does Video Relay Service (VRS) Work?

VRS facilitates telephone communication between a Deaf and a hearing person in different locations through the use of videoconferencing technology. The Deaf person connects to an interpreter via a videophone and a high-speed internet connection. The hearing person connects to the interpreter using a regular voice telephone. These VRS calls are paid for by mandatory contributions from telecommunications users to the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund, established by the United States government under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


VRS Requirements and Installation

Who qualifies for a videophone?

Sorenson Communications videophones are distributed for use by Deaf people who primarily use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.

How does the application process work?

After you complete and submit an application, a Sorenson representative will contact you to discuss your needs and to develop an installation plan.

How many videophones can we have?

You can have as many videophones as you need to accommodate your Deaf employees.

Can you provide references from other federal agencies or large businesses?

Yes. After you complete and submit an application, a Sorenson representative will be able to provide you with references from agencies similar to your organization that use Sorenson at Work.

Is a TV or monitor required?

Yes. The videophone must be connected to a TV or monitor.

Whom do I contact with questions or problems?

After we receive your application, a Sorenson representative will contact and assist you. The Sorenson representative will guide you through the videophone installation process as well as provide you with support and address any questions or problems you may have. You can also email questions to SVRSatWork@sorenson.com.

How does the installation process work?

After you complete and submit an application, a Sorenson representative will contact you to discuss your needs and develop an installation plan. A Sorenson trainer will install the equipment, provide you with training, and answer any questions you may have.

How long does installation take?

Depending on the configuration of your network and the number of videophones you are connecting, installation is typically completed in two to four hours.

Can we test a videophone on our network before making a commitment?

Yes. After you complete and submit an application, a Sorenson representative will contact you to discuss your needs and to set up a test or demonstration. In addition, you can send an email to SVRSatWork@sorenson.com to request a demonstration.

Can the videophone be moved from room to room – for example, on a cart?

Yes. Sorenson videophones can be installed anywhere and moved from room to room as long as there is a hardwire internet connection.

Does Sorenson provide public installation solutions?

Yes. Sorenson has installed videophones in many public settings. A Sorenson representative will work with you to develop a public installation solution that best fits your needs and environment.


Networking

What kind of internet service is needed?

Any type of hardwire high-speed internet service (DSL, broadband cable, T1, etc.) will work with Sorenson videophones. For best performance, Sorenson recommends service speed be at least 512Kbps. The videophone will work at lower service speeds, but the quality of the video displayed is improved at higher speeds.

Can the videophone be connected using a wireless network?

Sorenson videophones require a hardwire internet connection. If you need a wireless connection, a wireless bridge can provide this capability.

Does the videophone work behind a firewall?

Yes. The Sorenson videophone is designed to operate behind firewalls. A Sorenson representative will help develop a customized installation solution that works for your network firewall.

Do we have to open ports on our network?

The Sorenson videophone does not require inbound ports to be opened. However, some outbound ports may need to be opened, depending on the restriction settings of your network.

Do you have a network configuration document?

Yes. After you complete and submit an application, a Sorenson representative will provide you with the technical documentation you need for network configuration.


Cost

How is the cost of VRS funded?

All VRS companies are compensated through the same Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law that requires functional equivalency in telecommunications access. Sorenson receives compensation from the TRS Fund for the number of minutes interpreted for VRS calls.

Are there any ongoing costs for a deaf employee or business that uses SVRS?

No. There are no ongoing costs. VRS calls are paid for by the TRS Fund established by the FCC and funded by other telecommunications users. Sorenson provides the videophones and related software at no cost to you. You are only responsible for the cost of internet service required to place and receive VRS calls.


In-Person Interpreting

How does using an in-person interpreter work?

Sorenson provides in-person, onsite ASL interpreting between Deaf and hearing people who are in the same room.

Who uses an in-person interpreter?

These services are ideal for businesses, medical practices, schools, or other organizations that employ or serve members of the Deaf community. Whether the need is a legal consultation, training seminar, performance review, or any other situation, Sorenson has a seasoned interpreter for each job. In-person interpreting service must be paid for by the organization that provides the accommodation to Deaf employees or visitors.


Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

When an in-person interpreter is not available, a video remote interpreter may be a good option.

What is the difference between VRS and VRI?

Because VRS is funded through a program established by the FCC, there are strict eligibility requirements. Among other things, VRS is limited to telephone calls between a Deaf person and a hearing person in different locations. By contrast, VRI facilitates communication between Deaf and hearing people who are in the same room and who have a Sorenson videophone or app. A remote video interpreter takes the place of an in-person interpreter. VRI services must be paid for by the organization that provides the accommodation to Deaf employees or visitors, just like in-person interpreting. It is a violation of federal law to use VRS for calls between individuals in the same room.