Jeenie, the leading peer-to-peer marketplace for on-demand video and voice calls with HUMAN language interpreters, announced the addition of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to its mobile platform. Jeenie now functions as the first mobile and easily accessible form of on-demand Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) to facilitate face-to-face communication between Deaf and hearing persons who are in the same location.
Unlike other VRI services, Jeenie offers instant access to qualified ASL interpreters right on your smartphone or iPad screen, with no advance scheduling and no supplemental technology. Deaf persons and users in need of ASL interpreting assistance connect to interpreters with a tap of a button to launch a live video call session within seconds for individual, daily use. The 24-7 availability of Jeenie interpreters provides users with an affordable and reliable way to facilitate their in-person communications.
“Our core mission is to combine HUMAN talent, technology and crowdsourcing to overcome language barriers,” says Kirsten Brecht Baker, CEO and Co-Founder of Jeenie®. “We have built the Jeenie® app to solicit better outcomes in situations where language differences create misunderstandings, frustration, or even health risks. We were approached by leaders in the Deaf community who suggested that our mobile app solution for spoken languages could also work for signed languages. The addition of ASL to our platform would not be possible without the direct input from many members of the Deaf community who provided us with invaluable insights.”
To access an ASL interpreter, a Deaf person that requires assistance in communicating with a non-signing person need look no further than the mobile device that they carry wherever they go. After opening the app and selecting ASL as their language, users simply press the video call button and – in less than a minute — a live interpreter pops up on the screen of their smartphone or iPad to sign with them and to relay their interests to others. This removes the frustrating and all too common communication challenges Deaf persons can face while engaging in daily activities, from collaborating with work colleagues and interfacing with service providers (coffee shops, dry cleaners, grocery stores, etc.) to social activities such as family gatherings or dinner with a friend.
Businesses can utilize Jeenie as a simple and cost-efficient way to communicate appropriately with and provide an enhanced customer experience for their Deaf customers, as well as comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other regulations.
While some assistive communications technologies such as Video Relay Service (VRS) are indispensable resources for long-distance, telephonic interactions, Jeenie’s on-demand VRI service offers the Deaf community a modern, convenient solution for their face-to-face, in-person interactions. The service is not intended to replace in-person interpreters, which are essential and ideal in many situations – especially in medical and legal contexts. Rather, Jeenie is a communication resource for all those situations where an in-person interpreter is not available or is impractical due to the inability to pre-schedule. The company’s vision is to break down ALL language barriers by offering assistance on their platform in as many languages as possible, both spoken and signed. The Jeenie® team itself includes life-long language professionals, Deaf users of ASL services, and interpreters.
Future enhancements to the Jeenie app include captioning that will aid hard-of-hearing persons and users in loud environments as well as the addition of other countries’ sign languages. The addition of ASL to the platform complements the app’s current live interpreter language offerings that include: Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.