HHS link

CIT supports the Video Relay Service enabling sign language communication over video conferencing equipment. CIT VideoCasts, Podcasts, and Connect meetings can be enhanced with captioning to enable people with hearing or language challenges to fully participate in NIH communications.

CTIVS Assistive Technologies

The Video Relay Service

The Video Relay Service (VRS) enables users who use sign language to communicate via videoconferencing with a remote Video Interpreter, who then relays the signed communication over the phone - in real time - to the hearing party.  VRS uses IP video conferencing equipment to facilitate sign language interpretation between the hearing and hearing impaired. By using sign language over the full motion video, this allows the sign language user to fully express in their natural language and convey facial expression and cues to ensure nothing gets lost in the translation. Any NIH employee that has registered their system with CIT via the NIH IT Service Desk can use VRS free of charge.

> more


NIH is commited to making all online information equally accessible to people with disabilities. In order to serve our audiences, internal and external, as well as to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and HHS accessibility policies, all Web-hosted videos must be captioned.

The captioning requirement covers:

  • all videos whether produced internally or externally, or by contractors
  • for any audience, internal and external
  • any form of distribution including VideoCasts, Podcasts, Public Service Announcements, Training Videos, CD distribution, etc.

There are two types of captioning. In open captioning, the words are visible on the screen. In closed captioning, the captions are hidden to most viewers and are decoded for people needing the captioning.

CTIVS offers three captioning services:

  • Live Captioning in which live streaming VideoCasts are captioned in real time, with the captions appearing within the video as it is streamed live to the online audience. (Live Captioning is offered through NIH Events Management) > more information
  • Post-Production Captions can be added to archived videos in order to make the information accessible to people with disabilities. > more information
  • Captioning an Online Meeting can be accomplished by including a captioning pod within the Connect online meeting application, which allows a captioner to attend the meeting and transmit live captioning to hearing-impaired attendees. > more information