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November 9, 2005

Sign Language Video Relay Service to Host Open House

From: CSD - Nov 9, 2005

Release Date: November 4, 2005

Sign Language Video Relay Service to Host Open House

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. and OMAHA, NEB. – 4 November 2005 – The public will have a rare opportunity to view a video relay service (VRS) center in Omaha when Interpretek and CSD host an open house on Nov. 11. The event will feature demonstrations of VRS, which is used to facilitate telephone conversations between deaf and hearing callers via a remote sign language interpreter over the Internet.

When using VRS to place telephone calls to hearing individuals, deaf consumers use a D-Link videophone or Web cam to connect with a video interpreter via the Internet. The video interpreter then places the call to the hearing person, voicing to the hearing person and signing the telephone conversation to the deaf consumer through a TV or computer screen. This service, provided at no charge, is funded through the National Exchange Carriers Association (NECA).

To keep up with increasing demand, CSD contracted with Interpretek to operate its Omaha VRS facility, which opened in June. The center currently processes 800 hours of video interpreting calls each month and is one of 16 video relay centers owned or operated by CSD. In addition to its own CSDVRS product, CSD also works with long-time partner Sprint to provide Sprint VRS.

“Collaborating with CSD on (VRS) has been an exciting endeavor,” said Michael Rizzolo, president of Interpretek. “Using technology to promote excellence in communication is what both companies are about.”

As a national nonprofit agency headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., CSD provides a variety of services and programs to individuals with hearing loss. Interpretek, a national sign language interpreter agency, is based in Rochester, N.Y.

“CSD makes a concerted effort to partner with sign language interpreting agencies who share our concern for the critical need to balance video and local community interpreting resources,” said Benjamin Soukup, CSD chief executive officer. “Interpretek supports that philosophy, and we are pleased to be working with them.”

The open house begins at 4 p.m. at CSD’s Omaha VRS facility, which is located at 9394 W. Dodge Rd., Suite 125. The event is open to the general public, and sign language interpreters will be present to provide full communication access. In addition to Interpretek staff, representatives from Sprint and CSD are also expected to attend. The National Association of the Deaf regional conference is taking place in Omaha over the same weekend, and attendees have been invited to participate, as well.

About CSD
CSD is a private, nonprofit telecommunications and human services organization based in Sioux Falls, S.D. In its 30-year history, CSD has expanded its communication service offerings and currently manages over 20 call centers in the U.S. CSD offers telecommunications relay services, video relay services, equipment distribution programs and sign language interpreting services. Additionally, CSD’s National Programs provides human services at 15 locations in eight states. For more information, see

About Interpretek
Interpretek is a national Sign Language Interpreting Agency headquartered in Rochester, N.Y. Established in 1993, Interpretek has grown quickly to become a premiere provider of interpreters to private enterprise, government, educational institutions, not-for-profits, courts and hospitals.



Contact: Kathryn Graham, Video Manager, (585) 427-2453 Voice/TTY,
David Rosenbaum, CSD Community & Media Relations, E-Mail: