Deaf Couple use Internet and Technology to Run Restaurant

Today’s New York Times reports on a Deaf couple that have opened a pizzeria restaurant in San Francisco.

Russ and Melody Stein, who are [D]eaf, own Mozzeria, a restaurant in San Francisco. Workers use sign language, pen and paper, bulletin boards and the Web to communicate.

What strikes me, is something that I’ve been saying for quite some time, regarding the legal community. Simply stated, the need for live interpreters can be mitigated – or at the very least, minimized, through creative use of the Internet and other new technologies.

THE rise of social media and new technology has been an unexpected boon for the deaf, making it much easier to communicate with hearing people — in ways like simple text messaging and video relay services. Twitter and Facebook put us on par with other restaurants. Hearing guests may notice that instead of just picking up the phone and calling, they need to rely more on the Internet to reach us or make reservations.

Melody Stein uses an iPad app to confirm reservations via a translation service.

Numerous apps already exist for both iOS and Android devices. For a decade now, WiFi equipped laptops and Webcams have been ubiquitous in Police vehicles. Officers could be quickly and inexpensively trained to use online services for communicating with Deaf suspects and victims.

This is an uplifting story, and well worth the read. But as you peruse it, I would ask that you read behind the lines a bit. Think about ways we can harness the greatest communications invention since the telephone to help other Deaf pursue their dreams – and more important, how we can help innocent Deaf avoid the morass of problems brought about by an intolerant and ignorant legal system.

Here, again, is the link:

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