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By Nikki Cabus

Zoom Sign Language Interpretation View Enhances Remote Learning for the Deaf

Read Time 3 Minutes

Remote learning has it’s many benefits, one being convenience. but it’s not all too convenience if you are deaf or heard of hearing. In the past, features for the deaf and hard or hearing were almost non-existent. Although there’s still a long way to go to being fully inclusive, Zoom has been making some headway with a few features including the latest: the sign language interpretation view for Zoom Meetings and Webinars.

According to a recent Zoom blog, “Unlike other meeting layouts, the interpreter can be isolated and independent from gallery views, screen shares, spotlights, etc., but is still part of the meeting itself. This enables translators to swap duties or come and go without disrupting other participants, which can be especially helpful for all-day or multi-hour events.”

“Should the interpreter need to interact verbally with an instructor or the class, the “Allow to Talk” feature lets hosts bring an interpreter into the main session (or gallery view) and enable their microphone for discussion. What’s more, participants needing this service can resize or relocate the interpreter’s video window independently without ever leaving a meeting.”

Beth Wagmeister, CEO of Workplace Accessibility Group, or “WAG” and the Inclusion Chair at South Florida Tech Hub, warns that the misconception is that they are providing American Sign Language interpreters like a video relay interpreter. You can’t click on a button and an interpreter p[ops up. Although you will be able to allow the interpreter to be moved around the screen, positioned best for visibility, and allowed to pin even though the interpreter isn’t talking.

“It’s important for accessibility to have a person have the ability to control when and where they view the interpreter so that is an accessibility win, however, I don’t want people to be misled that that means zoom is providing American Sign Language interpreters,” says Beth.

“Previously, you could only pin one video screen while on a Zoom call. For meetings (those are usually in speaker mode, which keeps whomever is speaking highlighted), users can keep more than one speaker’s video centered, so there can be several videos pinned to the main screen. Only you as the user would see the multiple videos, so you can choose to keep an interpreter video pinned next to the main speaker, while other call participants might choose to just have the speaker centered on their screens.

A few other helpful features for the deaf and hard of hearing community are Zoom Phone’s Voicemail transcription service, Zoom’s Live Transcription, and the

Zoom Phone’s Voicemail Transcription service enables voice messages to be transcribed and read at the user’s convenience. When they can’t physically answer a call, they can read the message for pertinent information and choose when and how to respond.

Live Transcription allows users to generate an automatic, visual transcript from meeting audio that can be activated by any and all meeting participants.

Custom Gallery View enables users to click and drag videos to create a custom video order. Your custom order will be seen only by you, or the host can deploy their custom view to all participants. This order can be released and the order will revert to the default.

To learn more about Zoom accessibility features, visit

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Beth Wagmeister of the Wag Group

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: Helping organizations become more accessible, inclusive, and ADA compliant

Launched: 2016

HQ: West Palm Beach

LinkedIn Profile: Beth Wagmeister

West Palm Beach-based Beth Wagmeister of the Wag Group is on a mission to make our community more inclusive and accessible. 

An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter by trade, Wagmeister is an advocate for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Her advocacy work includes helping businesses strategize on how they can be as inclusive as possible. Wagmeister also helps organizations become Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, and makes them aware of related tax benefits.

Top of mind for Wagmeister is increasing the accessibility of events. “My mission is that anytime someone has a public event, to make it inclusive for everyone to participate and join in,” Wagmeister told South Florida Tech Hub. “People who are deaf or hard of hearing should be able to participate,” she continued, adding that events coordinators should factor in the price of hiring a captioner or interpreter when planning an event.

Wagmeister expressed positivity about the South Florida tech community, calling its approach to inclusivity “the most receptive and innovative of any industry that I’ve come across.” Despite seeing some push back from organizations with limited resources, such as not-for-profits, Wagmeister thinks that tech firms increasingly prioritize funds for interpreters.

The pandemic’s push towards digital-first events has been a positive for the deaf and hard of hearing community, according to Wagmeister. “Since events are now virtual, we can have interpreters from anywhere.”

She said that the main issue with signing tech events is that interpreters “have to adapt” because “many don’t know the industry-specific vocabulary.”

Wagmeister herself had to adapt to this new landscape when she started working with local organizations like software development training school Boca Code. For example, she explained that the sign for “server” (the computer hardware) is different from the more common use of “server” (waiter in a restaurant).

At the Wag Group, Wagmeister and team provide services that go beyond signing events. She works with organizations before events to help employees learn how to most effectively engage with interpreters. “Sometimes we need to get people over the fear factor of working with the interpreters.” Wagmeister also conducts debriefs with companies, helping them assess what went well and think about how they can improve going forward.

“Technology has been wonderful for the deaf and hard of hearing community,” said Wagmeister. She explained how new technologies are making it easier for deaf and hard of hearing people to lead more independent lives. 

One highlight for Wagmeister is West Palm Beach founder Saïda Florexil’s invention that makes it easier to see who is talking during group conversations. “It’s a game changer,” said Wagmeister, “I love it.” She also expressed positivity about video phone use and the ability to send a text to 911 in Palm Beach County.

Still, Wagmeister thinks that there is still room for innovation. For example, “captioning still has too many glitches,” Wagmeister noted.

Wagmeister is excited to be part of the South Florida tech community, which she says “brings [her] such energy.” She is passionate about “seeing people raising awareness” and feels like some or her “hard work is already paying off.”

Zoom Sign Language Interpretation View Enhances Remote Learning for the Deaf
Member Spotlight | Beth Wagmeister of the Wag Group