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Portal users can now bring sign language interpreters into video calls | Engadget

Meta’s Portal devices are now much more practical for the deaf and hard of hearing. The social media giant has teamed with ZP Better Together to enable Video Relay Services (VRS) on Portal hardware through apps, letting you bring an English or Spanish sign language interpreter into conversations with hearing people. You can place video calls to a far larger audience, in other words, and ZP’s interpreters are available 24/7 if a chat can’t wait.

The functionality works across the range of Portal products. You can also apply to receive a free Portal through ZP’s website if you’re deaf or hard of hearing.

The move could help Meta corner video calling for those with hearing issues, of course, but that doesn’t change the vital role it could serve for some people. While smart displays have long been useful for calls between sign language users, this expansion could help the hard of hearing communicate with virtually anyone. That’s particularly important during a pandemic, when in-person interpreters might not be available.

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