SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, March 5, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it will provide video remote interpreting services for people with hearing disabilities at a total of 50 COVID-19 testing clinics in the city from mid-March.
This service is expected to help deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals communicate with medical staff at a clinic in real-time via a sign language interpreter at each autonomous district’s Sign Language Interpretation Centers over an on-demand sign language interpretation app installed on a tablet.
Currently, hard-of-hearing people who get tested for the coronavirus need to visit a testing clinic with a sign language interpreter or communicate with medical staff by writing what they want to say on the paper. In addition, there is a shortage of professionals who have related skills, and the government’s social distancing restrictions make it difficult for the Sign Language Interpretation Centers to provide on-site interpretation services.
According to the plan, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will complete the video interpreting service system’s installation at 50 testing clinics (two each for 25 autonomous districts) by midMarch. The installation is mandatory for the testing stations operated by the public health centers.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government also plans to promote the video sign language interpreting app and encourage the hearing impaired to use the app with their smartphones.
Kim Sun-soon, Deputy Mayor for Welfare Policy at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “We hope this video interpreting service will help hearing-impaired people safely and preemptively have tested for COVID-19 without any inconvenience.”