Speech Technology Magazine

 

Hamilton Relay to Provide Relay Service in Pennsylvania

The relay and captioning service for the deaf relies on voice recognition and live operators.
Posted Sep 26, 2014
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The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) selected Hamilton Relay as the new telecommunications relay service (TRS) provider for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Hamilton Relay, a provider of TRS and captioned telephone (CapTel) services, will begin providing TRS to Pennsylvania residents on December 31. Hamilton has provided captioned telephone relay service (CTRS) to Pennsylvanians since August 2007.

TRS enables individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking to communicate with friends, family members, and businesses over the phone. Traditional TRS call types include the use of text telephone, voice carry over, hearing carry over, and speech-to-speech services. Hamilton provides TRS services in English and Spanish.

When a traditional relay call is placed, a communication assistant (CA) confidentially relays the conversation by voicing or typing what's said between the relay user and the standard phone user. When using captioned telephone (CTRS), a screen on the CapTel phone displays word-for-word captions generated by the CA through the use of voice recognition software, allowing users to listen while reading what's being said during the conversation.

"We're excited to begin providing traditional relay service to the people of Pennsylvania," said Dixie Ziegler, vice president of Hamilton Relay, in a statement. "Providing easy, convenient, and accessible telephone services for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking is our top priority. We're ready and eager to expand the life-changing benefits relay services provide to individuals throughout the commonwealth."

Anyone can initiate a relay call by dialing 711. Hamilton provides TRS and CapTel service 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. There is no cost to use relay services, although equipment and long distance charges may apply. Through Pennsylvania's Equipment Distribution Program, free telecommunications equipment is available for qualified residents.


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