19 Nov 2013 VITAC

Captions for Your Phone

As an alternative to caption relay services for the deaf and hard of hearing, there is a telephone that will automatically caption the incoming dialogue on your land line. Amplified captioned telephones have a monitor that transcribes the dialogue from the other end of the connection in a high-contrast, large-print screen. If the user is not there to pick up, some models of the phone will even record a message in text!

The service is free, though it requires an internet connection. The phone itself costs less than $100. Unlike a video relay service, the monitor does not display video of a live person using sign language to communicate, but displays only text. Yet like video relay, captioned telephone service does have a delay, so it helps if the user identifies the fact that they are using the service. Captions are input by voice recognition software, but checked manually by a real person to ensure an accurate transcription.

One great advantage that captioned telephones share with captioned TV is the ability to archive content. Unlike a traditional phone conversation, a captioned telephone will save a transcript of the conversation for future reference, just as a caption file of a meeting or live event can be archived and searched for future re-use. Very useful!