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CSD Partners With BarZ Adventures to Give Virtual Sign Language Tours of Austin

Imagine visiting a new city and each time you come upon a historical landmark, instead of reading a pamphlet or brochure, the technology you hold in your hand automatically takes you on an in-depth journey, explaining the historical significance in full detail, using both audio and visual. With the GPS Ranger — a multimedia global positioning satellite touring device with a four-inch LCD screen and amplified audio system — this is already possible.

Now, imagine you are deaf.


This cutting-edge technology, created by BarZ Adventures, is currently available at national parks, zoos, and cities around the nation. To make these virtual tours more accessible to both deaf and hard of hearing people, BarZ Adventures initially added a captioning option to the device. And now for the first time, working together with CSD of Texas, they have created a tour available completely in American Sign Language (ASL), a tour of Austin, Texas.


The ASL tour was launched March 1, at the DeafNation Expo in Austin.  


CSD hopes to replicate this model in other locations around the nation, ensuring that those who use ASL as their primary language are not excluded from taking these kinds of virtual tours.


CSD of Minnesota Announces New Director of Interpreting Operations

Martha “Marty” Barnum is the new CSD of Minnesota director of interpreting operations. She began her new position on March 3.


Barnum has worked hand in hand with CSD of Minnesota throughout the years in several capacities, and was instrumental in the implementation of the Minnesota Hospital Consortium project, a contract she is familiar with and will be overseeing per her new responsibilities. In 2005, numerous Minnesota hospitals joined together, in a consortium, to share the cost of 24/7 emergent interpreting service costs. Today, that project has added several more hospitals and is one of CSD of Minnesota’s most successful programs.

Barnum bolsters CSD’s leadership staff, joining CSD of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Language and Culture from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from St. Thomas University (Minnesota). She has been working in both the interpreting and interpreting education fields for over 30 years. She was a former assistant professor and director of Health Care Interpreting at the College of St. Catherine.


Overall, Barnum will be responsible for managing the day-to-day business of the interpreting program; serving as a member of the department’s national management team; developing and managing all of CSD of Minnesota’s grants (including the Department of Human Services/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Division grant and the consortium); and will also work closely with CSD of Minnesota’s human services division when needed.


CSD of Oklahoma and Like-Minded Organizations Form Coalition to Provide Emergency Relief for Non-Native Speakers

On Jan. 22 in Tulsa, Okla., 20 groups — including CSD — met and joined together to form the Tulsa Language and Culture Bank. The Language Culture and Bank connects non-native speakers to professionals who use a foreign language to, making their skills available to assist community agencies with concerns from homeland security, emergency preparedness, crisis management, to public health and public safety.

 

Its main purpose is to provide assistance during a disaster situation to those whose first language isn’t English. By participating in the Language Culture and Bank, volunteers can help build bridges to all people in the community, so that when an incident occurs, they have the knowledge and skills to work together quickly to meet the needs of families.

 

Some of the other organizations joining the coalitions are the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, the Pakistani American Society of Tulsa, the Russian Golgotha Pentecostal Church, Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce.

 

The Language Culture Bank goal is to teach non-English speakers volunteers everything from flu prevention to tornado preparation. With this network in place, language, culture and religion will not be a barrier for public safety in Tulsa. To volunteer, call (918) 831-1119 to the Red Cross or e-mail language@ arctac.org.

 


Aspen Airport Installs CSD’s Public Access Videophone

Another airport has joined CSD in helping make public facilities more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing travelers by purchasing CSD’s public access videophone (PAV). The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport has installed one PAV and made it available to the public starting in March.


The PAV is a piece of equipment that works as a traditional pay phone, while also providing options like a keyboard and Internet access to check your e-mail. Deaf and hard of hearing people can also use the PAV to make point to point video calls, video relay service calls, and traditional relay service calls. The PAV is also hearing aid compatible.


“We applaud Pitkin County and the Aspen Airport for their progressive attitude in providing equal access for their deaf and hard of hearing travelers,” said Ben Soukup, CSD chief executive officer. “While this new generation of technology will benefit all travelers, hearing and deaf alike, it takes a forward-thinking entity to understand this unique equipment and then make the leap to provide it for the general public, and Aspen will always be recognized as one of the first places in the nation to do so.”


Aspen
joins The Chicago Airport System (Midway International and O’Hare) as the only other airport currently providing the PAV for their travelers.

 


CSD of Maryland Adds Video Interpreting Call Center

In December of 2006, CSD spun off CSDVRS into a for-profit entity. Since that time, CSD has continued a business relationship with CSDVRS in various capacities, including as its biggest vendor.

 

To meet the demand for the CSDVRS’ continual growth, CSD has installed three new stations in its Maryland facility in order to process CSDVRS calls.

 

CSD of Maryland provides to the local deaf and hard of hearing community Sign Language Interpreting Services, a Deaf Senior Citizens Program, Community Education Classes, a Community Hall (available for rental), and a computer lab for open to American Sign Language, Adult Literacy and Interpreting Students.

 

Towards the end of March, CSD of Maryland will also be a call center for CSDVRS.


To learn more about CSD of Maryland, go to
www.c-s-d.org.