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March 18, 2005

Sorenson Media center staffed up

From: Columbus Business First, OH - Mar 18, 2005

Tony Goins
Business First

Sorenson Media Inc.'s Columbus interpreting center has already reached its full staff of 30, a spokesman said Thursday.

The center, located at 899 Gemini Parkway in Columbus, opened last month, said spokesman Dave Parkinson.

The center employs a staff of 30 American Sign Language interpreters to facilitate phone calls between deaf and hearing people. People with hearing loss call the center on a videophone and trained interpreters will place calls using regular phone lines.

The center won't just focus on calls coming from Columbus, Parkinson said. "They come from anywhere in the world."

The Sorenson system is an improvement over TTY, the traditional system used to facilitate phone calls for the deaf, Parkinson said.

"The deaf person and the interpreter sign back and forth over real time," Parkinson said. "This allows them to speak in their native language, American Sign Language."

TTY is a text telephone system, although when used with an interpreter it can be used to speak to hearing people.

TTY requires hearing people to speak to a typist who types their words on a screen for the deaf person to read. Hearing people must say "go ahead" when they're done speaking.

The Columbus center is already as large as it's going to get, Parkinson said. If it got too large, it might draw interpreters away from schools, courts and other important occupations.

"We just want to be careful not to tap out the interpreters there in the community," Parkinson said.

Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Media was founded in the late 1990s and makes software that compresses video so it can be sent over the Internet. Its software underlies many Internet video formats, Parkinson said, including Flash and Quicktime. It expanded into sign language interpreting in 2003 and has 18 interpretation centers.

© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.