Just got off after another long Relay Service call filled with the usual "irks" and misunderstandings...
First, what is a Relay Service? It's an operator service that allows Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafblind, or Speech Impaired to make telephone calls to hearing users.
It's basically Deaf caller calls Relay Service - Operator calls Hearing Phone - Operator relays verbally what Deaf person says and then relays what the Hearing Person answers. It's done either by TTY (teletype), Internet Relay (IP-Relay), Mobile phone, or by Videophone where it's hooked to TV and camera shows operator and Deaf signing to each other.
Now back to the irks....
* Person addresses you in the 3rd person - "Tell her I said..." I've tried over and over to correct them "Please address me directly in first person" "Okay...tell her that..." *sigh*
* Make a call, Relay says "This is Operator #____ you have a relay call from" *CLICK* the other line hangs up. Call back and explain again "Oh I thought it was a telemarketer". Grrr...
* Gender mixups - Being addressed as Sir/Madam when you're not but the relay operator is. "We'll do that for you Sir" "It's Ma'am" *stammering* "Uh okay". Doesn't help when I have a "unisex" name either!
* Hearing Caller is uncomfortable with "same sex" operator calls. Back when I was dating my now hubby, we had a male operator, and I typed "I love you" and he's hearing a man say that..."UGH" *Cringe*
* Try calling someone numerous times to no answer. Then see that person and say "I tried calling several times" "Your number never showed on my Caller I.D." "It's going to be a Relay Service number!!" "Oh that who it was??" *facepalm*
* Calling a place of business such as a Bank, Hospital, etc and inquiring about your account or test results etc. "Sorry I cannot tell you that information because I'm not speaking directly to that person" "But you ARE!" "Well we can't go through third parties so if you would come in and fill out some paperwork (in triplicate) that will give us permission to share information with a third party...." ARGH!!!!!
* The Relay Operator will relay everything that is said or heard, so don't yawn, burp or fart, I do not wanna see it on my screen! Also you cannot ask the operator to emote for you "So did she sound/look mad?" that will just be relayed to me. I also get a lot of "(side conversation going on)" so don't have a second conversation with someone else in your house!
So here's how to make a Relay call:
1. Call 711 to get the access number for your State
2. Give the operator the Deaf person's phone number
3. Speak more slowly - remember everything's being typed
4. Speak directly to the other person not to the operator.
5. Say "Go Ahead" (GA) when you're done and it's the other person's turn to talk.
6. Say "Stop Keying" (SK) when you're done and ready to hang up.
7. In the case of a Videophone you don't need to say GA or SK
It's that simple! Now go reach out and touch someone Heh!
"One finds limits by pushing them" ~ Herbert Simon