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Telecommunications Relay Services

Telecommunications relay services (TRS) provide a bridge for telephone calls between voice telephone users and people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-disabled.  TRS is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.  

There have been many new improvements in TRS in the last several years.  These improvements give users choices that make TRS calls more natural and “functionally equivalent” to voice telephone communications.

7-1-1 access:  Any caller in the U.S. can access relay services simply by dialing 7-1-1.

More choices for text communication:  Relay services can handle calls from traditional TTYs, TTYs with Turbocode™, computer modems (ASCII), as well as via Internet (IP relay)

Video relay service:  Using a high-speed Internet connection or ISDN, a video connection is established; a qualified sign language interpreter relays the conversation with the voice telephone party.

Spanish language relay:  Spanish-language calls can be handled by the relay service. 

Speech-to-speech service:  A hearing person with a speech disability may use TRS for repeating his or her speech to the other party in the telephone call. 

In addition, several services exist for people who want to use text in one direction and speech in the other:

Voice Carry-Over:  The deaf or hard of hearing person speaks for expressive communication and reads the transcription by the operator for the receptive part of the conversation.

Hearing Carry-Over:  Hearing people with speech disabilities type for expressive communication and listen to the other party for the receptive part of the conversation.

CapTel, or Captioned Telephone, is a new product of Ultratec, being tested in several states (as of Fall 2002).  CapTel is an innovative service in which the operators repeat the words of the hearing party into an automatic speech recognition system for rapid transcription.  Voice and data are carried on one line so that the hard of hearing or deaf user can monitor the speech as well as see the transcription. The CapTel phone is set up for “dial through” so that the user does not need to dial the relay service first.

Links  -- Check out other websites related to TRS.

Check out IP-Relay and Video Relay Service (VRS) Providers.

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