Global VRS and their Global Efforts

Global VRS (formally known as Gracias VRS) is one of the most diverse and international based Video Relay Services out there thanks to their CEO, Angela Roth who has been a tireless supporter of both ASL and Spanish. As somebody that understands the language barriers that people deal with on a daily basis because Spanish is her first language, she sees things in a different perspective. (She is also the only Hispanic woman that is the CEO of a VRS provider!) She is also a certified interpreter herself.

They want the public to acknowledge that their CEO and Operations team sees VRS from a much different perspective than other CEO’s team from other VRS companies most of whom (not all but most) came from a business background - not one within the Sign Language profession. "We strive to balance that we have amazing English Interpreters coupled with the fact that even though we are an emerging provider we spend time/resources to make sure Spanish VRS services are seen as equal to English/ASL is what we want to convey." Gabrielle Joseph
Global's website is a great example of linguistic crossover possibilities for both Spanish and English speakers and American Sign Language users. Not only has Angela been a strong believer, she has put her words into action. Global VRS is truly a global company and does things within the community including community interpreting and gives back to the local community wherever they are. They are all over the country from Washington to Florida, including Puerto Rico.

Global wants to 100% promote that they support English-ASL-Spanish equally (whereas other VRS providers generally put a primary focus on just English/ASL with Spanish as a side option) however they do not want to marginalize themselves as only a “Spanish Focused Company” as they certainly want more of the English Market to use their services to see and experience their amazing English Only Interpreters as well. Global supports ALL languages..not just the Spanish Community. The Spanish community is an under served population within the Community however they are also actively supporting Deaf-Blind VRS users and other under served individuals in the community as well.

Their Interpreters are encouraged to take whatever time is needed during the setup of the call (this is time that we are not paid for by the FCC- this is at the expense of GlobalVRS) in order for their Interpreters to take time to establish the best communication style of the Deaf client….to interact and get comfortable with each other. Isn’t this how Interpreters should interact in any other Interpreting setting aside from VRS? They also encourage their interpreters to focus on their health and enable them to do so by not imparting strict measuring metrics that would negatively impact their mental and/or physical well-being.

As part of their efforts to support interpreters, they are in support of a exciting event coming up in Mexico City! They have announced on their Facebook page that they are excited and very proud to support the very first North American Conference of Sign Language Interpreters in Mexico City! As a Trilingual global access video relay service provider, they have interpreters that are fluent in ASL, English, and Spanish. If people have phone calls to make to family members or friends that speak Spanish only, this is a great provider to be using.

Global VRS has been around for years however they are just now coming out of their shell but are very well known in the Spanish speaking community for their dedication and support. Another way that they have separated themselves from other VRS providers is to emphasize support for international calls. This means when the person using ASL is abroad, they now know what information they need to know to make sure they can still use their 10 digit number when they are abroad!

For those that enjoy traveling outside the United States, it is important to know that their 10 digit number can work as long as they meet some of the requirements set forth by FCC. The requirements are:

- They are registered in the United States
- They have a 10 digit number from an authorized VRS provider
- They have registered with and received permission to place international calls from the original VRS provider who issued the 10 digit number being used to place the call.
- They can't be outside the US for more than 4 weeks.

This means, if you obtain your number from Global VRS, you must use Global VRS when you are calling anybody when you are outside the country. This is a clear requirement and people may misuse this unintentionally but it can lead to a lot of problems legally. To obtain permission to use a 10 digit number outside the United States, check the Global VRS Travel Permission Form.

Written by: Mary Pat Withem
Follow her on Twitter: @mpwithem