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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 4, 2023

U.S. Coast Guard introduces Sign Language View in Microsoft Teams

By Eddie Stoker, Partnership in Education & Special Emphasis Program Manager, Civil Rights Directorate

The “Sign Language View” capability is now available on Microsoft Teams within the Coast Guard. This optional accessibility feature can further enhance attendees’ meeting experience when implemented.

The tool helps meeting organizers promote equity of content for people who may be deaf or hard-of-hearing and prefer to use sign language. Specifically, the Sign Language View has the capability to synch event attendees with requested American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters.

Using the Sign Language View, signers and ASL interpreters are better connected in a consistent on-screen location throughout the virtual event. When enabled, the feature, focuses up to two interpreters on the screen as a personal view. The view of the interpreters will then be maintained as more people turn on their cameras or the presenter adds content.

Transcription and closed captioning services are other means of accessibility compliance within Microsoft Teams. Organizers should promote accessibility for the total workforce and the public at both virtual and in-person events, such as ceremonies, all-hands events, and other meetings with specific accommodation requirements. 

This new Microsoft Teams feature enhances ASL interpretation in the virtual environment and supplements other methods, including live captioning and transcription. The ability to use this tool and others helps the Coast Guard meet the requirements and spirit of the law for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the federal workforce.

This guide will help you learn how to enable the “Use Sign Language View in Microsoft Teams.”

For additional information on acquiring ASL interpretive services for virtual or onsite interpretation or other Communication Access Services, visit the Civil Rights Directorate (CG-00H) - Communications Access Services SharePoint site (internal CG only).

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