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What is Relay Indiana, and how does a relay call differ from a regular phone call?

Relay Indiana is a telephone relay service that provides telephone accessibility for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired. It also enables standard telephone users to communicate with the hearing and speech impaired without the use of a teletypewriter (TTY).

You can reach the local relay service for any state by dialing 711, or call 800-743-3333 to reach Relay Indiana from anywhere in the US. Local calls are free of charge. Long distance calls are billed to the caller's long distance provider. Relay Indiana handles several different types of relay calls:

  • Voice user: For a call from a standard telephone to someone who uses special equipment to communicate

  • TTY: For hearing impaired individuals who do not use a standard telephone

  • Voice Carry Over (VCO): For people who have difficulty hearing, but have no problem speaking distinctly. Using a specially equipped phone, the VCO user speaks directly to the second party. As the second party replies, a communications assistant types the reply, which is then displayed on the VCO user's text screen.

  • Hearing Carry Over (HCO): For people who can hear clearly, but have speech impairments. Using a TTY, the HCO user types a communication to the second party. A communications assistant reads the communication to the second party, who then can reply by speaking directly to the HCO user.

  • Computer ASCII: Allows a person to contact Relay Indiana via a computer connected to the Internet

  • Speech to speech: For people who can hear, but have difficulties with unclear speech

  • Spanish to Spanish: For people who wish to converse in Spanish

  • Video Relay Service (VRS): For people who wish to use American Sign Language (ASL) to converse. The interpreter/operator will appear on the screen and will place the call in the same way as a standard relay call.

  • Internet Relay (SRO): Allows for a more real-time conversation than standard TTY relay service, as users can see what they are typing and what the relay operator is typing at the same time.

  • CapTel (Captioned Telephone): An enhanced VCO service using voice to text recognition; the relay operator "re-voices" the words of the other party simultaneously, and the operator's computer sends the text to the CapTel user. Allows for direct dialing for the CapTel user.

  • D-Link (Video Telephone): Allows users with a high-speed Internet connection to use ASL, which is interpreted by the relay operator.

In most types of relay calls described above, to make communication between both parties as easy as possible, both parties say, "Go ahead", or type GA, to signal the communications assistant to begin relaying the communication. With newer technologies like the Internet Relay service, parties are able to have a more natural conversation. If you receive a phone call from a Relay Indiana user, the communications assistant first will explain the service to you and ask if you have ever taken a relay call before. After a brief introduction, the call will begin. Address the other party directly rather than saying "tell him" or "tell her".

Relay Indiana is a service of the Indiana Telephone Relay Access Corporation (InTRAC), a non-profit organization established in 1991 by the Indiana State Legislature. For more, visit Relay Indiana.

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Last modified on September 28, 2010.

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