TextDirect supports the needs of the UK textphone users by displaying ‘rigning’ and ‘busy’ as a text message providing access to Typetalk, connecting different textphones together and allowing telephone companies to provide a text rebate.
Typetalk was introduced in 1991, since then over 21 million calls have been made from Textphone users to hearing people. Without Typetalk deaf and speech–impaired people would not be able to make telephone calls to hearing people, having to rely on friends and family to ring their bank, doctors etc. on their behalf.
Typetalk is the national telephone relay service for people with communication difficulties. The service is managed by RNID (The Royal National Institute for Deaf people) and funded by BT.
Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year the service allows Textphone users to communicate with hearing people all over the world and vice versa.
The service is simple and free to use. Calls are charged at standard telephone rates (please contact your telephone service provider for information about how you are billed). A Textphone user simply dials 18001 followed by the full telephone number of the person they wish to call. Once the call is answered by a hearing person a Typetalk Operator will join the line to relay the call. The text user can type or speak their conversation to the hearing person, the hearing person will speak their part of the conversation and the Typetalk Operator will type exactly what is being said.
The same happens in reverse. If a hearing person wishes to call a Textphone user they would dial 18002 followed by the full telephone number. Once the call is answered by a Textphone, a Typetalk Operator will join the line to help with the call.