Captioned phones provide captions of everything a caller says, similar to captioned television. You dial the other person’s number, exactly the same way as with any other telephone. While you dial, the CapTel phone automatically connects to the free captioning service. When the other party answers, you talk, and hear everything they say, just like a traditional call. At the same time, the captioning service transcribes everything they say into captions, which appear on the CapTel screen. You hear what you can, and read what you need to. Generally, an internet connection is necessary.
This special telephone is designed to work with the captioning service. It does not, by itself, translate spoken words into captions. The captioning service transcribes the caller’s spoken words into written captions, using voice-recognition technology. It can also be used as a traditional telephone, without the captions feature. A Captioned phone app is also available for many mobile phones.
The CapTel phone is free to users with a hearing disability; the application requires a professional’s certification of hearing loss. The cost is covered by the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) funds as part of Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).