HOW TO USE A TTY
A TTY or teletypewriter is a communication device used by persons who are deaf or who have speech
impairments to communicate via the telephone lines by typing back and forth. The teletypewriter is
also referred to as a TDD (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf) and a TT or Text Telephone.
TTY LOCATIONS AT UND
Available during normal business hours, 8:00 – 4:30 pm at:
|Facilities (24 hrs. a day)
|Affirmative Action Office
Disability Services for Students
|Enrollment Services Office
|A pay telephone in the Memorial Union
Telecommunications (777-4111) has a TTY available to UND departments on a short-term checkout basis.
HOW TO MAKE A TTY CALL
- Place the telephone handset in the TTY’s acoustic coupler (modem) and turn on the power. If you are
not receiving a signal, try turning the receiver around.
Two small lights will come on, but only the power light will stay on. The phone light waits to
respond to any sounds picked up by the coupler.
If you have a direct connect TTY, you do not need a separate telephone. Dialing will be done
on the TTY keyboard.
If you are using a payphone, the TTY drawer will open automatically when the TTY signal is detected.
- Dial the number and watch the phone light, which shows the dial tone, busy signal, or ringing
by corresponding light patterns. The light remains on for the length of the sound and goes off
when there is no sound. For example, the light flashes rapidly and rhythmically with a busy
- People answering the phone will respond with their names and a short message followed
by "GA" which means "go ahead."
- You start typing at this point and identify yourself.
- To end a turn in the conversation, type "GA", and the other person will begin typing again.
Each person is expected to take a turn only after receiving a "GA" from the other party.
- When you are done with your conversation, type "GA to SK", meaning "go ahead to
stop keying" or "good-bye", to let the person know you are finishing the call.
- A TTY message in process cannot be interrupted, even if one knows what the other person is going to
HOW TO RECEIVE A TTY CALL
- When you answer the phone, you will hear: a “keying” sound” or a computerized voice
announcing “TTY caller” or no sound at all.
- Turn on the TTY and set the phone handset in the coupler.
- Type your greeting and your name. For example, “Disability Services for Students,
this is Judy. GA”
- The party will respond via his/her TTY, and your conversation is underway.
TYPING AND SPELLING PROTOCOL
TTY calls take longer, because typing is slower than talking. The following are accepted
ways of shortening the typing time:
- Punctuation, such as quotation marks, periods and commas are generally not used.
- Indicate a period by hitting the space bar two or three times.
- Do not use capital letters; the text prints out in all capital letters.
- Don’t correct errors unless the misspelled word cannot be understood within the context
of the sentence.
- Correct an error by typing XXX several times directly after the mistake and then
retyping the word correctly.
These commonly used TTY abbreviations also save time:
|GA = go ahead
||SK = stop Keying or good-bye
|GA to SK = completing all messages
and getting ready to hang up
|SKSK = hanging up
||Q = question mark
|XXX = mistake
||TDD = another name for TTY
|HD = hold
||MSG = message
|THX = thanks
||TMW = tomorrow
This is how a TTY conversation looks on the digital readout or paper tape:
HELLO SAM IS MARK THERE Q GA
Yes this is mark how are you q ga
I AM FINE WANT TO JOIN FOR A MIOVXXX MOVIE Q GA
Sure what time q ga
AT 7:00 NIGHT AND M EXXX MEET ME AT MY PLACE GA TO SK
Ok I will see you at 7:00 sksk
- When calling TTY users, let the phone ring at least 7 or more times before hanging up. Many
deaf and hard of hearing users rely on flashing lights to alert them to ringing phones. Flashers
can take longer than sound to attract attention.
- Callers should identify themselves at the beginning of calls. Any one else watching
the conversation should also be identified.
- Callers should use the standard abbreviations of GA, Q, HD, and SK.
- Always tell TTY users when calls are going to be put on "hold" or
- When TTY users type, "Can you read me?" they want to know if the message
is clear and without garbled letters and numbers. If the message is garbled, hit the
space bar a few times. If this does not clear up the message, both parties should hang
up and try the call again.
- Provide privacy for the person using the TTY. It is not appropriate for anyone
other than the person(s) called to watch the typed messages.
- The paper tape of a conversation should be handled as confidential material.
Content excerpted from the NETAC Teacher Tipsheet “How to
Use a TTY”, compiled by Barbara Ray Holcomb, associate professor, American Sign Language
and Interpreting Education, NTID, Rochester, New York. This publication was developed
in 1999 under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education
and Rehabilitative Services (Osers).