Relay Calling Tips

A Relay Operator (OPR) acts as the "link" between TTY text telephone users and standard telephone users. When you make a relay call, the operator dials your party, and then stays on the line to relay your conversation. Following are some basic examples of relay calling:

Examples of Relay calls

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If you are someone with a hearing loss and/or speech disability who types your phone conversations...

The relay operator will repeat aloud the words you type on a TTY, so a hearing person can listen to the conversation you have typed. If you call someone who is new to relay, the operator will explain how it works. During this time, the TTY screen will display the message: "Explaining Relay." During your conversation, just type "Go Ahead" or "GA" every time you finish a thought. This tells the other party it is their turn to converse.

If you are someone with a hearing loss who speaks to the person you are calling...

The relay operator will type your caller's responses, so you can read the conversation on a TTY screen. If you call someone who is new to relay, the operator will explain how it works. During this time, the TTY screen will display the message: "Explaining Relay." During your conversation, just say "Go Ahead" or "GA" every time you finish a thought. This tells the other party it is their turn to converse.

If you are a hearing person...

The relay operator will type the words you say, so that someone with hearing loss and/or speech disability can read your conversation. In turn, the operator will read the person's responses to you. During your conversation, just say "Go Ahead" or "GA" every time you finish a thought. This tells the other party it is their turn to converse.

Your Relay Customer Profile

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To save some time and make the relay calling experience more satisfying, relay users can set up Relay Preferences. Your Relay preferences are attached to your phone number, so that your relay operator can handle your calls the way you want. Some special requests include the following:

Request a male or female operator;


Indicate exactly how operators should relay your conversation (e.g., typing speed for deaf-blind relay users);


Request your preferred long-distance provider;


Request that operators use a personal greeting rather than the standard relay greeting;


Specify your preferred relay method (e.g., VCO, TTY, Spanish); and more.


Set up Relay Preferences (coming soon)

 

Ideas for better Relay calls

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Tips for hearing people:
Don't be nervous. Relay calls are almost identical to any other call, and besides, operators will explain how relay works to new users.

Be patient. Relay calls have frequent pauses to allow the operator to relay the conversation.

Don't be surprised if the operator is a man speaking for a woman or a woman speaking for a man.

Speak directly to the TTY user, not the operator. Avoid saying, "Tell her/him ."

Speak slower and clearly to give operators enough time to type your words.

Be aware that operators may type background sounds and chatter, verbal gestures like laughter, and other things outside your conversation.

View Voice in-depth page

Tips for HCO calls:
Set up a Customer Profile to inform the operator of your relay calling preferences.

Provide the operator the details of your call before the call is connected.

If you expect to reach an answering machine, dictate an entire message to the operator before the call is connected.

Be aware that all parties on the call can hear the others.

Type "GA" after finishing each thought to indicate you are ready for a response.

You can request a male or female to relay your call as long as one is available.

View HCO in-depth page

Tips for VCO calls:

Set up a Customer Profile to inform the operator of your relay calling preferences.

If you do not have a Customer Profile, you must type VCO PLS and wait for the operator to type "(VOICE NOW) GA" before you begin speaking.

Do not start speaking to the operator until you see "(VOICE NOW) GA."

VCO is turned off while the other party is speaking, so the operator will not hear the VCO user before receiving a "GA."

Do not press any keys while the operator is connecting the call, because the operator will not know whether you want to use TTY or VCO.

You can request a male or female to relay your call as long as one is available.
 

View VCO in-depth page

Tips for STS calls:

Set up a Customer Profile to inform the operator of your relay calling preferences.

If you expect to reach an answering machine, dictate an entire message to the operator before the call is connected.

Save time by providing the operator an initial message before the call is connected. The operator will connect the call and convey the message immediately.

Ask the operator to record important information mentioned throughout your conversation, so you can refer to it later in your call.

Set up a Speed Dial Profile to store the numbers of up to 10 people you frequently call.

Ask the operator to stay in the background, and you can decide when the operator will re-voice what the other party did not understand.

View STS in-depth page