Salt Lake City – April 9, 2022
We are devastated to report that on Fri., April 8, 10 Sorenson employees who were in Austin, Texas preparing to attend a DeafNation Expo were injured when two vehicles collided at an intersection, sending one vehicle into the Sorenson group which had gathered near a food truck. The injured employees were transported to two local hospitals and treated for varying degrees of serious injuries.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. Our hearts are with those in the Sorenson family who sustained injuries and with those impacted by the event,” said Sorenson CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “We continue to support them on their road to recovery and healing.”
Sorenson, el proveedor líder de servicios accesibles de comunicación en los Estados Unidos, anuncia transacción estratégica
Ariel Alternatives, LLC concreta la adquisición del paquete mayoritario de Sorenson.
Una asociación con el fin de expandir las opciones de comunicación inclusiva para la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica, y para diversas poblaciones a nivel mundial.
Un nuevo director general y una nueva junta directiva le aportan al equipo directivo pericia adicional en temas relacionados con productos, seguridad y regulaciones.
Salt Lake City, 4 de abril de 2022. Sorenson (o “la empresa”), el proveedor líder de comunicaciones para la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica en los Estados Unidos, anunció hoy que la firma de inversión privada Ariel Alternatives, LLC ha concretado la adquisición del 52,5 % del capital ordinario de los accionistas existentes, esto incluye a Blackstone Credit, un fondo gestionado por Franklin Mutual Advisers, y cuentas financieras privadas gestionadas por KKR, en una transacción de USD 1 300 millones. Los accionistas vendedores continuarán poseyendo una participación minoritaria en la empresa. Ariel Alternatives es la empresa privada filial de la firma gestora de activos globales Ariel Investments, LLC, la primera empresa de inversión de propietarios afroamericanos en los Estados Unidos.
Durante más de veinte años, Sorenson ha sido el proveedor líder de tecnología, de servicios y de comunicaciones accesibles para la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica en los Estados Unidos, y más recientemente, en el Reino Unido. El servicio de telefonía por Internet con subtitulado de Sorenson [Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service, IP CTS] para las personas con pérdida auditiva y la interpretación por video y en persona en lenguaje de señas americano y británico han modernizado la manera en que las personas Sordas e hipoacúsicas se comunican. Esta adquisición no afectará los servicios existentes de Sorenson.
En la actualidad, Sorenson procesa más de ciento cuarenta millones de conversaciones al año, y es una de las empresas privadas que emplea a más individuos Sordos en los Estados Unidos. Se espera que la inversión de Ariel Alternatives le permita a Sorenson conectar a más personas alrededor del mundo a través de sus servicios accesibles e inclusivos, y continuar expandiéndose para modernizar sus servicios comunicativos hacia las plataformas del siglo XXI. La presencia de Sorenson en Europa incluye a un prestigioso cliente en Francia y a su afiliada en el Reino Unido, Sign Language Interactions. Recientemente, la Oficina de Comunicaciones del Reino Unido nombró a Sign Language Interactions como el proveedor oficial del nuevo servicio de video relevo (VRS) para las llamadas a Emergencias al 999.
Esta transacción es la primera de la iniciativa estratégica “Project Black” de Ariel Alternatives, cuya misión es expandir las empresas sostenibles propiedad de minorías. A través de este esfuerzo, Ariel Alternatives busca transformar las empresas de cartera como Sorenson en empresas dirigidas por minorías y ubicarlas como prestadores líderes entre las empresas Fortune 500, respaldando así la diversidad comercial. Ariel Alternatives también apunta a ayudar a las empresas a generar empleos, igualdad y crecimiento económico dentro de las poblaciones subrepresentadas. Sus objetivos de alto impacto incluyen, sin limitación: acrecentar el acceso a productos para las comunidades desatendidas, contratar a personal diverso para cubrir puestos desde el nivel inicial hasta el nivel ejecutivo, obtener contratos de comerciantes y proveedores minoritarios, y forjar asociaciones filantrópicas con organizaciones que respalden los derechos civiles.
Jorge Rodríguez, director ejecutivo de Sorenson comentó: “Nos entusiasma enormemente asociarnos con Ariel Alternatives. Su inversión nos permitirá optimizar nuestro potencial, y desarrollar nuestros sistemas, nuestras plataformas y nuestro alcance para mejorar la experiencia comunicativa de la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica. Además, podremos acelerar la investigación y el desarrollo, y ampliar las inversiones para ofrecer tecnología de vanguardia, lo que nos permitirá promover la equivalencia funcional para las diversas comunidades a las que servimos. Me complace que hayamos concretado esta transacción de envergadura que respalda nuestra tesis de accesibilidad, inclusión y oportunidad económica, los principios subyacentes de nuestra misión para respaldar a los grupos desatendidos y subrepresentados”.
David Posnick, director ejecutivo sénior de Blackstone Credit y miembro de la junta directiva de Sorenson, añadió: “Sorenson ha hecho un trabajo excepcional proveyendo servicios a la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica. Confío en que la asociación con Ariel Alternatives ampliará el alcance de los servicios de Sorenson, proporcionando el acceso lingüístico para las comunicaciones a poblaciones más extensas”.
Ariel Alternatives ha aprovechado su amplia red de ejecutivos minoritarios para colaborar con Sorenson nombrando, recientemente, a Jorge Rodríguez como director ejecutivo, y designando una nueva junta directiva que incluye a Paget Alves como su presidente, a Vonya McCann, al coronel J. Carlos Vega y a María Teresa Lensing como sus directores. Además de ser personas de color, estos ejecutivos le aportarán al equipo directivo de Sorenson pericia crítica en temas regulatorios, de productos y de seguridad a medida que la empresa evoluciona y amplía su enfoque en la innovación, en el cumplimiento y en la protección de los consumidores.
Sorenson recientemente ha contratado, y continuará contratando, a personal de minorías étnicas y a personas Sordas e hipoacúsicas para ocupar puestos de liderazgo, asesoría y dirección. Asimismo, la empresa planea establecer un Consejo de Asesoría Sordo que recomendará prácticas óptimas de manera continua con el fin de garantizar la debida conducción de la empresa en la comunidad a la que servimos.
Sorenson recibió la asesoría de Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP y Credit Suisse. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP actuó como el principal asesor legal para Ariel Alternatives. Greenberg Traurig LLP proporcionó asesoría jurídica adicional.
Sorenson, America’s Leading Provider of Accessible Communication Services, Announces Strategic Transaction
Ariel Alternatives, LLC completes purchase of majority stake in Sorenson
Partnership to enable the expansion of Sorenson’s inclusive communication options for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and additional diverse populations worldwide
Newly appointed CEO and board directors bring enhanced product, security, and regulatory expertise to leadership team
Salt Lake City, April 4, 2022 – Sorenson (or “the Company”), the leading U.S. communications provider for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing, announced today that private investment firm Ariel Alternatives, LLC has completed an acquisition of 52.5% of the Company’s common equity from existing shareholders, including Blackstone Credit, a fund managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers, and private credit accounts managed by KKR at an enterprise valuation of $1.3 billion. The selling shareholders will continue to own a minority interest in the company. Ariel Alternatives is the private equity subsidiary of global asset manager Ariel Investments, LLC, the first Black-owned investment firm in the U.S.
Sorenson has been the leader for over 20 years in delivering accessible communications, technology and services to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities in the U.S. and, more recently, in the United Kingdom. Sorenson’s Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) for people with hearing loss, video, in-person American Sign Language and British Sign Language interpreting have modernized the way people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing communicate. This acquisition will not affect Sorenson’s current services.
Today, Sorenson processes more than 140 million conversations annually, and is one of America’s largest private employers of Deaf people. Ariel Alternatives’ investment is expected to enable Sorenson to connect even more people worldwide using the Company’s accessible and inclusive services, by expanding those services to additional 21st century communications platforms. Sorenson’s existing presence in Europe includes a flagship customer in France, and its United Kingdom affiliate, Sign Language Interactions. Sign Language Interactions was recently named by the U.K.’s Office of Communications as the official provider for the U.K.’s new Emergency 999 Video Relay Service (VRS).
This transaction is the first of Ariel Alternatives’ strategic initiative “Project Black,” its mission to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses. Through this effort, Ariel Alternatives seeks to transform portfolio companies like Sorenson into minority business enterprises (MBEs) and position them as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, supporting business diversity. Ariel Alternatives also aims to help portfolio companies generate jobs, economic growth, and equality within underrepresented populations. These impact objectives include but are not limited to: increasing the accessibility of products to underserved communities; the hiring of diverse people from entry level to the boardroom; the purchasing of contracts with minority-owned vendors and suppliers; and philanthropic partnerships with organizations supporting civil rights.
Sorenson Chief Executive Officer Jorge Rodriguez commented: “We are thrilled to partner with Ariel Alternatives. Their investment will enable us to optimize our capabilities, evolve our systems, platforms and approaches to improve the overall Deaf and hard-of-hearing communication experience, and accelerate R&D and next-generation technology investments to promote functional equivalency across the diverse communities we serve. I couldn’t be happier that we have closed such a monumental transaction, given our thesis of accessibility, inclusion and economic opportunities as underlying tenets of our mission to support underserved and underrepresented groups.”
Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Credit and Sorenson board member David Posnick added: “Sorenson has done a phenomenal job of serving the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. I am confident the Ariel Alternatives partnership will extend Sorenson’s service reach, providing communication language access to broader populations.”
Ariel Alternatives has leveraged its extensive network of minority executives to introduce Sorenson to recently appointed CEO Jorge Rodriguez and new board members, including Chairman Paget Alves, and directors Vonya McCann, Colonel J. Carlos Vega and Maria Teresa Lensing. In addition to being people of color, these executives bring critical product, security, and regulatory expertise to Sorenson’s leadership team as the Company evolves and enhances its focus on innovation, consumer protection, and compliance.
Sorenson has recently hired and will continue to engage additional ethnic minority, Deaf and hard-of-hearing leaders, advisors, and directors. In addition, the Company is establishing a Deaf Advisory Council that will recommend ongoing best practices for conducting business in the community it serves.
Sorenson was advised by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Credit Suisse. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as lead legal counsel to Ariel Alternatives, with Greenberg Traurig LLP serving as co-counsel.
Accessible communications provider to match $50,000 in donations
SALT LAKE CITY – (March 10, 2022) – Today, Sorenson Communications announced a partnership with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) to drive support for Deaf people in Ukraine and for Deaf refugees fleeing the Russian invasion to relocate in neighboring Eastern European countries. Many Deaf Ukrainians, like their fellow citizens, are displaced and without basic supplies but also lack access to information and communication in sign language.
Sorenson, the world’s leading provider of inclusive communication services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, is launching a campaign to drive significant financial support for Deaf in the Ukraine and provide an avenue for Deaf and hard-of-hearing to help from abroad.
Visit the Sorenson Donation Site to contribute.
WFD is coordinating support for Deaf Ukrainians through the Ukrainian Society of the Deaf (UTOG), an advocacy organization that networks with local associations throughout the country and that is currently working to ensure Deaf people are included in humanitarian aid and evacuation support and have access to sign language interpreting services. All donations made on the WFD’s Sorenson page will assist UTOG’s work.
This commitment is personal to Sorenson. Born in the Ukraine and now living in the U.S., Yuliya Novosad, who is Deaf, works as a graphic designer for Sorenson. “I am so lucky to work for such an amazing and thoughtful company,” she says. “Thank you, Sorenson, for creating a way to help and support Ukrainian people during this difficult time especially the Deaf community there. My family and I and my friends back in Ukraine are extremely grateful!”
Fast Company recognizes Sorenson for revolutions in communication between Deaf and hearing.
SALT LAKE CITY – (Mar. 8, 2022) Today, Sorenson Communications was named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022.
Sorenson, the world’s leader in accessible communications for Deaf and hard-of-hearing, was thrilled to join the list of other mission-driven businesses that are making the biggest impact on their industries and culture as a whole—ultimately thriving in today’s ever-changing world. Sorenson is among inventive companies, including Canva, Microsoft, and SpaceX, creating the future today with some of the most inspiring accomplishments of the 21st century.
“Sorenson is honored to be named on this preeminent list of forward-thinking companies,” says Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications. “We leverage the insight and creativity of our diverse people – brilliant and committed, ‘whole brain’ teams who deeply understand our customers’ unique needs – as a catalyst to disrupt our industries and to deliver inclusive next-generation platforms and services. Our focus on diversity both within our company and in the communities we serve informs everything we do as we innovate new ways to connect people across languages and cultures.”
Sorenson was recognized for accessible technologies, like Lumina, the company’s Deaf-designed videophone, which provides unmatched clarity, cutting-edge innovation, and exceptional design. Additionally, Sorenson’s revolutionary technology, Wavello, was acknowledged as a crucial tool for communication between Deaf and hearing people during the pandemic. Wavello created new possibilities for connection by showing a Deaf caller, ASL interpreter, and a hearing caller on the same Video Relay Service (VRS) call for the first time.
For nearly two decades, Sorenson has been the leader in accessible communication, technology and services for the Deaf community, and today, Sorenson enables over 140 million conversations a year through its ASL interpreting services and its CaptionCall captioned telephone service. In the past three years, the company earned top accolades as an exemplary employer, with additional recognition for its efforts to support women and diversity in its workforce.
“The world’s most innovative companies play an essential role in addressing the most pressing issues facing society, whether they’re fighting climate change by spurring decarbonization efforts, ameliorating the strain on supply chains, or helping us reconnect with one another over shared passions,” said Fast Company Deputy Editor David Lidsky.
“Sorenson is dedicated to driving functional equivalency,” said Mr. Rodriguez. “We will continue to push the envelope with next generation technology and capabilities across our video and captioning platforms to deliver a superior customer experience.”
Seasoned Silicon Valley executive committed to responding to customer needs
American Sign Language:
British Sign Language:
SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb. 22, 2022) – Today, Ivonne Valdes was named Sorenson Communications’ Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development. Valdes’ experience spans international sales, cybersecurity oversight, go-to-market strategies and includes a continual focus on enhancing the customer experience.
“Ivonne is a transformative business leader, with a proven track record of advancing strategic product and business initiatives,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of American Sign Language interpreting and phone captioning services. “Ivonne’s vision supports our efforts to connect people through accessible and inclusive communication as we continue to expand internationally. We welcome her to our executive team.”
Prior to joining Sorenson and since 2016, Valdes was the global senior vice president of accounts for Schneider Electric, where she oversaw strategic sales and customer experience for the Global Data Center Segment and synced business models across multiple business units. Under her leadership, the company experienced double-digit growth. As the leader responsible for global enterprise customers, including the Fortune 100, she managed more than $1 billion in annual revenue globally.
From 2010 to 2016, Valdes served in various vice presidential roles and divisions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She worked cross functionally to define, implement, and execute new services and go-to-market strategies, and was responsible for datacenter care, infrastructure automation and infrastructure as a service.
Prior to Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Valdes held senior sales leadership positions at Oracle Corporation and Sun Microsystems.
”I am honored to join a company that aims to change the world, one conversation at a time – and to be part of the transformation,” said Ms. Valdes. “I’m excited to support the development of next-generation technology and services that give new and existing communities advanced options for communication.”
Valdes joins Sorenson with an array of awards, which include the 2020 Silicon Valley Women of Influence Award, the 2020 HITEC Hall of Fame, and the Infrastructure Masons 2019 Global Diversity and Inclusion Champion award.
Valdes chairs the HITEC Foundation and serves on the sales advisory board for Virtual Power Systems and Kloudspot.
Valdes received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Caldwell University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She holds a CERT Certification in cybersecurity oversight from Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute.
Executive brings deep experience to mission of serving diverse communities
SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb. 11, 2022) – Today, Sorenson Communications announced the appointment of Mark E. Sparger as the company’s first Chief Revenue Officer, a position that will draw upon his vast experience in advancing employee and company-wide performance – all with the ultimate goal of optimizing service to new and existing customers.
“We welcome Mark to our executive team,” says Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of interpreting and Video Relay services. “Under Mark’s direction, we aim to identify business opportunities and challenges and work nimbly and collaboratively to better serve our existing and underrepresented communities. We look to him to enhance our teams’ capabilities and to introduce systems and structures that will help us continue to excel in today’s fast-paced business world.”
Prior to joining Sorenson, Mr. Sparger was head of corporate aftermarket partnerships for CARFAX, where he provided leadership to sales and customer success teams that implemented go-to-market strategies and effective end-to-end customer experiences.
Mr. Sparger served as a board advisor to Aerial UAS Solutions as well as Chief Operating Officer for Fiber Prime Telecommunications, where he constructed business development growth strategies for international markets, focusing on Latin America, Europe, and North America.
Previously, as senior director of global operations and fulfillment for Equifax/IXI, he led sales support and operations. Prior to Equifax/IXI, and for eight years, he served as Sprint’s Head of Americas, Americas Network Services, where he led operations and global business development. There, he enhanced operations, identified strategic markets, competitive advantages, sales/marketing opportunities, and areas of potential cost savings. In addition, he provided guidance and financial governance for global operations and served as executive sponsor to key global clients.
“I am pleased to join Sorenson,” notes Mr. Sparger. “I look forward to being part of an agile and progressive team that, in an effort to better serve people, addresses challenges and seizes opportunities to grow in new and exciting ways.”
Mr. Sparger earned an M.B.A. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, which designates advanced competence in the areas of data analysis, operational efficiencies, and cost management. A vision-driven and goal-focused leader, Mr. Sparger understands how to implement, perform, interpret, and apply these principles at a high level of proficiency.
SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb. 10, 2022) Sorenson Communications, the global leader of sign language interpreting and captioned phone services, has been named to the Forbes list of America’s Best Employers 2022. This prestigious award is presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider.
“We are honored to be recognized as one of America’s best employers,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications. “Our commitment to providing an engaging, dynamic, and inclusive workplace is unwavering. Our employees are the heartbeat of our organization, and their dedication to excellence and commitment to connecting people through communication are what drive our success.”
Earlier this year, Sorenson announced initiatives to increase support for its workforce of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, including adding educational opportunities, compensation adjustments, and hiring additional interpreters. Sorenson continues to lead the industry in training ASL interpreters and set a record of providing nearly 40,000 hours of education in 2021. Additionally, Sorenson continues to offer flexible schedules and remote work opportunities.
“This award is a testament to our outstanding workforce,” said Brian Breinholt, Sorenson Chief Human Resources Officer. “We are excited for this recognition of our teams and their unparalleled efforts to support connection and communication.”
Forbes and Statista selected the America’s Best Employers 2022 through an independent survey applied to a vast sample of approximately 60,000 American employees working for companies with more than 1,000 employees in America. Sorenson is one of 1,000 employers awarded across 25 industry sectors. The evaluation was based on direct and indirect recommendations from employees that were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. Employee evaluations also included other employers in their respective industries that stood out either positively or negatively.To see open positions with Sorenson, visit the careers page.
More than 8,000 interpreters received training in 2021 with focus on BIPOC and LGBTQ communities
SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb. 1, 2022) Sorenson Communications continues to lead the industry in training American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters by providing best-in-class education that is specifically designed to improve communication between Deaf and hearing people. ASL interpreters help create connection and understanding across communities and supporting their professional development is essential. Last year, Sorenson set another record in ASL education with nearly 40,000 hours of training delivered. In addition to offering opportunities to upskill, ASL interpreters were able to support their professional credentialing with continuing education units (CEUs).
“Every day our ASL interpreters provide essential support to our consumers by facilitating access to information and enabling seamless communication, and we are committed to ensuring they have the highest skill level in the industry,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of video relay and interpreting services. “These frontline employees have so many community touchpoints – they support government communication in press briefings, patient communication in hospitals, and family relationships over video relay calls. Our customers deserve the best quality we can provide, and that starts with our interpreter training.”
Sorenson’s investments demonstrate its continued commitment to the interpreting and Deaf communities and include a wide range of programming especially designed to support interpreting students, Children of Deaf Adults (Codas), Certified Deaf Interpreters, and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) interpreters. Sorenson’s presenter pool boasts more than 50 educators who are diverse, experienced, and committed to teaching interpreting.
“I want to let you know how appreciative I am of the training I received. I have been in so many trainings with varied trainers over the years. THIS was one of the BEST trainings with one of the BEST trainers,” said Paula M., an interpreter from Maine who attended the Cultural Mediation in Video Relay Service (VRS) course.
More than 1,500 community interpreters across the U.S. and Canada attended instructor-led, remote webinars sponsored by Sorenson’s interpreter education team. Training was designed to support their continued improvement and growth on topics ranging from fighting unconscious bias to honoring the LGBTQ experience. In addition to the CEUs offered, Sorenson hosted the Educational Interpreter Enhancement Program which supported interpreters in K-12 settings in improving their skills to interpret for children who are Deaf.
Sorenson also hosts Deaf Interpreter Academy (DIA), a program that supports Deaf community interpreters with trainings and webinars to advance their professional interpreting careers. In 2021, DIA piloted an Affinity Mentoring program to support BIPOC Deaf interpreters and plans to expand its efforts in 2022.
Supporting African American and Black interpreters was also a key focus in 2021. Working closely with diversity partners, Sorenson provided special events, workshops, social sessions, and keynote presentations. Additionally, Sorenson’s trilingual interpreters received specialized training in Spanish.
Sorenson’s training also includes Compass, a program designed for heritage language learners (interpreters who are bilingual children of one or more signing Deaf parents). Compass continued to expand its offerings in 2021, engaging over 100 Codas in uniquely tailored instruction delivered through several online platforms. This focus on remote learning allowed a diverse population in urban and rural areas across the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii.
“Sorenson’s amazing investment in interpreters opens doors within the field of interpreting and gives us opportunities to all grow together,” said Stephanie Criner, executive director of Sorenson’s Interpreter Education and Professional Development team. “I am proud to be a part of these meaningful educational opportunities that support lifelong learning for interpreters and that make such a critical contribution to improving the lives of Deaf people and their families.”
SALT LAKE CITY – (Jan. 28, 2022) – Today, Sorenson Communications announced another milestone in communication inclusion for Deaf citizens in the United Kingdom. On Thursday, the U.K.’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) approved Sign Language Interactions (SLi) as the official provider for the U.K.’s new Emergency 999 Video Relay Service (VRS). SLi is a Sorenson, United Kingdom-based company.
“Ofcom’s approval of the first VRS-accessible emergency service in the U.K. is another communication breakthrough for the British Sign Language (BSL) community,” said Sorenson Communications CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “We celebrate this fantastic news and are honored to be chosen as the supplier of these critical services as we continue our global expansion.”
Crisis and emergency situations require clear and reliable communication. VRS enables Deaf and hearing callers to communicate in real time through a high-speed internet connection and device. Calls are routed through remote sign language interpreters, fluent in both signed and spoken language – who “relay” the messages between the two parties. Callers communicate in their natural language – signed or spoken – and the real-time communication flows naturally.
“We are pleased to continue bridging gaps and strengthening BSL access for the Deaf community. Getting to this point was a journey of collaboration and is timely with Ofcom’s new requirement that VRS emergency services be made generally available,” said Andrew Dewey, CEO of SLi. “We urge other businesses and services to become more inclusive with accessible services for diverse communities.”
Beginning June 17, 2022, telephone and broadband companies in the U.K. must provide no-cost 24/7 VRS for BSL callers to contact 999 or its pan-European equivalent, 112. These companies may implement this requirement on their own or pay another company to do so, although the service must be approved by Ofcom.
Read Ofcom’s statement regarding approving SLi as the official provider of 999 VRS.
Watch SLi’s British Sign Language video above about the announcement.
SALT LAKE CITY (Jan. 27, 2022) – Sorenson Communications, a leading provider of interpreting and Video Relay service, concluded its first thought leadership series, titled “frame.influence,” with a special interview with Lauren Ridloff, of Marvel’s “Eternals” movie.
“We are honored to highlight these Deaf leaders and learn from their distinct perspectives,” said Sorenson CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “Connecting people and supporting their relationships is at the heart of what we do, and we are delighted that Lauren shared her story in our first thought leadership series.”
Frame.influence explores the different ways personal frame – or perspective – is shaped and how it influences people, their lives, and how they see the world. Leading the Sorenson frame.influence interviews was Callie Frye, a disability rights advocate and Daily Moth reporter. In addition to Lauren Ridloff’s interview, Frye sat down with Nikki Reineck, the CEO and founder of Sisters in Style, a successful clothing boutique, and Harmony Baniaga, a dancer who incorporates sign language into her performances.
In the final interview of the series, Ridloff shares her journey about owning her narrative as a Deaf, Black, and Latina woman, and the shift in how Deafness is perceived. She recalls the moment she first saw her superhero character “Makkari” as a figurine: “To me that represented a huge step in seeing my Deafness as something to celebrate.” Ridloff noted the positive change she sees following “Eternals” and what her role means for Deaf actors. “I’m thrilled to finally have that shown on a global scale,” she said. “When people can see what a Deaf person can do, I hope that helps shift perceptions and attitudes.”
The entire frame.influence series is available at https://www.sorenson.com/events/fall2021/
About Sorenson Communications, LLC
Connecting Life. Sorenson Communications, was founded on the principle that communication and being understood is fundamental to the human experience. Inspired by this belief and the core values of our communities, we develop the most trusted communication offerings, including Sorenson Relay, the highest-quality video interpreting service, and Sorenson Interpreting, which matches qualified sign language interpreters to specific assignment needs. As the largest employer of sign language interpreters, Sorenson endeavors to provide each customer with an exceptional communication experience. Sorenson offers innovative, Deaf-specific communication products, such as ntouch® videophones and ntouch software applications that connect PC, Mac®, and mobile device users to Sorenson Relay. For more information, visit www.sorenson.com.
Sorenson Communications and CaptionCall
Director of Public Relations
SALT LAKE CITY – (Jan. 26, 2022) Sorenson Communications announced today a pilot with Amazon and Microsoft to support the development of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. The initiative, called the Corporate Consortium Paid Partnership, is a collaboration to provide paid practicum and mentoring experience to current students and new graduates of ASL interpretation programs.
Sorenson is the leading provider of ASL interpreting services and Video Relay Service (VRS), and Amazon and Microsoft lead the technology industry in accessibility from the recruitment stage to employment accommodations.
“The strength of our workplaces, schools and communities is directly tied to diversity and accessibility,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications. “ASL interpreters help create connections between Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing people across industries. We are excited to collaborate with Amazon and Microsoft to help develop the next generation of ASL interpreters who will continue the important work of supporting a more diverse and inclusive world.”
American Sign Language interpreters are important to ensuring employment, education and healthcare settings remain accessible to people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Corporate Consortium Paid Partnership aims to develop more ASL interpreters and address the current interpreter shortage, especially as it affects underrepresented communities.
The Corporate Consortium Paid Partnership offers paid learning opportunities for students who are enrolled in or recently graduated from interpreter education programs. Participants of the program will have opportunities to observe professional interpreters working in a variety of corporate settings at Amazon and Microsoft, and participants will also be given the opportunity to interpret with supervision and immediate feedback in a safe environment that will fast-track their transition into the field. Additionally, experienced interpreters will provide weekly mentoring and evaluation to help participants identify skills to improve and progress through the program. This exciting initiative will provide new ASL interpreters and current students with meaningful experience in a supported environment while also protecting the integrity of the interpretation for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
“Communication is fundamental to the human experience, and ASL interpretation supports that between Deaf and hearing people,” said Joshua Pennise, Sorenson Interpreting Vice President of Operations. “We look forward to continuing to invest in our current and future interpreter workforce through the highest quality training and best opportunities in the industry.”
Applications for the program are now open, and to learn more, please visit www.sorenson.com/careers/CCP.
About Sorenson Communications, LLC
Connecting Life. Sorenson Communications (www.sorenson.com) was founded on the principle that communication and being understood is fundamental to the human experience. Inspired by this belief and the core values of our communities, we develop the most trusted communication offerings, including Sorenson Relay, the highest-quality video interpreting service, and Sorenson Interpreting, which matches qualified sign language interpreters to specific assignment needs. As the largest employer of sign language interpreters, Sorenson endeavors to provide each customer with an exceptional communication experience.
Sorenson offers innovative, Deaf-specific communication products, such as ntouch® videophones and ntouch software applications that connect PC, Mac®, and mobile device users to Sorenson Relay. For more information, visit www.sorenson.com.
Amazon is guided by 16 Leadership principles as it strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.
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