Stratus Video Interpreting is a company that provides on-demand interpreter services. The company uses technology as a way to connect its clients with interpreters. These interpreters are versed in over 175 spoken, as well as signed languages. The connection is established in less than 30 seconds on-demand.
This is accomplished 60,000 times every day. Using their cloud-based video solution, Stratus can deliver an array of unique features to virtually any internet enabled PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. Its clients can use Stratus technology to either connect with their own staff interpreters, or with Stratus’ interpreters. Their interpreters have years of healthcare and courtroom experience and hold multiple certifications.
Why is a service like this so important? Companies such as Stratus strive to provide equal access to quality language services for the U.S. Limited English Proficiency (LEP) population. In 2011, there were 25.3 million Limited English Proficient individuals, both foreign-born and U.S.-born, residing in the U.S. Over the past 20 years, the LEP share of the total U.S. population has grown from close to 6 percent in 1990 to about 9 percent in 2011. The total number of LEP individuals has grown by 81 percent since 1990 and has established a relatively large presence in California, Texas and New York.
There are two particular areas when a very good understanding is not only essential, it can very well be lifesaving. Healthcare systems and courts nationwide have reported difficulties in providing timely, affordable and quality service to non-English-speakers due to an increasing LEP population combined with a lack of timely access to qualified interpreters. Misinterpreting one word in either case could literally mean the difference between life and death.
In an effort to strengthen its position even more, Stratus has acquired a company called Capiche. If you are familiar with the Godfather movies, you will be familiar with the word. Essentially, it is a 1940s slang word taken from the Italian word “capisci” which means “do you understand?” Very appropriate for a company that provides interpretation services.
By integrating the Capiche platform into its own service, Stratus will be able to expand its capabilities into Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC). Combined, these companies will be able to provide critical technology enhancements that will be able to meet the growing demand for video remote interpreting (VRI). Capiche takes full advantage of this as it offers the first WebRTC-based interpreting platform that connects LEP individuals with interpreters, thus putting it in the forefront of modern interpreting systems.
Stratus CEO, Sean Belanger, believes that technology does exist which can provide a solution to the substantial delays and costs associated with language services. One major problem, however, is the lack of nationwide standardization. Unfortunately, this has caused far too many individuals to receive inferior healthcare and justice. Belanger feels that this is a situation which Stratus has taken steps to fix with its acquisition of Capiche.
Belanger said, “WebRTC offers real advantages over traditional video communications technologies—no software is required to be downloaded, as it works natively in the browser and works cross-platform with IOS and Android. WebRTC also has distinct advantages, delivering high-quality video over long distance in a secure and encrypted fashion.” All of which are needed with dealing with the justice system and the healthcare field.
Along with Steve Blakely and Frederick Marx, Jakob Rohn is one of the co-founders and CEO of Capiche. Rohn said, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Stratus team and take the next step to creating a high standard for language services for all, regardless of the language they speak.”
While it is important to get real interpretations in court cases and dealing with health issues, Stratus’ technology can be used and is applicable to pretty much any industry. If your company does not have its own interpreters, Stratus does employ experienced, highly-qualified, certified interpreters. They can either be used to supplement an existing interpreting infrastructure or to replace live and over-the-phone interpreters altogether with its VRI system.
When you consider the fact that hospitals and healthcare systems in urban and rural areas reportedly have a 94 percent share of LEP individuals who, in most cases, have no translator, it is easy to understand the problems. You can see how using Stratus’ current system combined with WebRTC could assist in creating some standards that could be used to defragment the industry and create some consistency, which would help this incredibly large group of people receive proper healthcare.