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Types of Services

Captioned Telephone Service (CapTel)

CapTel is an amplified telephone and relay captioning service that allows people who are hard of hearing to see word-for-word captions of their telephone conversation on a bright, easy-to-read display window built into the CapTel phone, while also listening to what is being said using their residual hearing (much like TV captioning).  The CapTel user speaks directly to the other person on the call, and the CA transcribes everything the other person says into written text.  To use CapTel relay you must have a CapTel phone.

To contact a person who uses a single-line CapTel, dial 1-877-243-2823 and then enter the telephone number of the CapTel user.

Two-Line CapTel

Two-line CapTel allows you to receive captions on all incoming calls – even if the other party does not call through the relay captioning service’s toll free number.

Like standard CapTel relay, two-line CapTel gives you live captions of everything your caller says during a phone conversation.  You can hear the caller and read captions of what they say. With two-line CapTel, the conversation is carried on one telephone line and the captions are provided on the second line.  This gives two-line CapTel relay users the ability to caption any phone call – incoming or outgoing – at any point in the conversation.  Two-line CapTel also supports enhancements that you have purchased from your telephone service, including call-waiting.

For two-line CapTel you must have two phone lines with separate telephone numbers (one of the lines must be analog or DSL with a filter; the other may be analog, VoIP, or DSL with a filter).

Refer to the following instructions on making a CapTel (.pdf) or two-line CapTel (.pdf) relay call.

Internet-Based Captioned Telephone Services

Internet-based Captioned Telephone Services are currently under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are not a service of Minnesota Relay.

IP Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) using a specialized CapTel phone

For people who have a standard analog or digital phone line and high speed Internet access.  The voice/audio part of the call is delivered over the telephone line, while the captions are delivered via the Internet connection.  People do not need to call you through the relay captioning service’s toll free number – they can call you directly.

For information on purchasing an IP CapTel phone visit:


WebCapTel allows you to read word-for-word captions of you call on a web browser, while at the same time hearing the other person using any telephone.  WebCapTel does not require use of a CapTel phone; it works with your existing telephone (including cordless, landline, and wireless) and any Internet access device, such as a computer or smartphone.

For more information visit the WebCapTel site.

Mobile CapTel

New application software (apps) make it easy to get CapTel captions on your mobile devices; the apps deliver captions of everything your caller says, while you listen (with your residual hearing) and speak directly to your caller.

For more information visit Mobile CapTel site.

Computer (ASCII):  1-800-627-3529

Computer users can access Minnesota Relay directly.  Set your telecommunications software to the following protocols at speeds ranging from 300 to 2400; 8 Bits; No Parity; 1 Stop Bit; Full Duplex. It may be helpful to set your “time out” to 100 seconds.  When calling at a rate of 300 or below, follow the above using Half Duplex.

Hearing Carry Over (HCO)


HCO allows a person who can hear but who has very limited or no speech capability to make and receive phone calls.  Using HCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, an HCO user can listen directly to the voice of the other person on the call and type his/her response to the relay communications assistant, who voices the response to the other person. To use HCO relay you must have a TTY and a telephone.

Two-Line HCO

This enhanced relay feature offers you more control and allows for interactive conversation without the use of “GA” (go ahead) instructions.  You can respond in real time, and even interrupt, rather than wait for the other party to say “GA.”

In order to use two-line HCO you must have a voice telephone with its own telephone number, a TTY (or Internet access) with its own dedicated line, and subscribe to 3-way calling from your local service provider on the voice line.

For more information on HCO relay, please read the Hearing-Carry-Over-Brochure (.pdf).

Refer to the following instructions on making a HCO (.pdf) or two-line HCO relay (.pdf) call.

Internet Protocol (IP) Relay

IP Relay service is currently under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and is not a service of Minnesota Relay.

IP Relay is a text-based form of Telecommunications Relay Services that uses the Internet, rather than traditional telephone lines, for the leg of the call between the person with a hearing or speech disability and the relay communications assistant.  There is no need for a TTY; you use a computer or other web-enabled device to communicate with the communications assistant.

IP Relay is offered by Sprint Relay.

For more information regarding IP Relay visit FCC Internet Protocol (IP) Relay Service.

Spanish Relay:  1-877-627-5448

The communications assistant relays calls between a Spanish speaking person with a hearing or speech disability and a Spanish speaking hearing person.  This is not a translation service – both parties must speak Spanish and at least one party must have a hearing or speech disability.

Speech-to-Speech (STS): 1-877-627-3848

STS relay allows a person who has difficulty speaking or being understood on the telephone to communicate using his or her own voice or voice synthesizer. An STS communications assistant revoices the words of the person with a speech disability so the person on the other end of the phone call can understand them.

No special telephone equipment is needed to use STS, though some people may find it beneficial to use a speakerphone or hands-free telephone equipment.

STS Features

My Support (Speech-to-Speech Customer Service)

Dedicated customer services staff is standing by to assist STS users or organizations serving STS users with basic information about STS, filling out customer profiles, and other features designed to support STS customers and their callers.

The Sprint STS My Support number is 1-877-787-1989 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

My Profile (Customer Profile)

My Profile allows STS users to submit their user preferences such as:

  • contact information
  • emergency numbers
  • conversation preferences
  • speed dial
  • customer notes

The STS user has the flexibility to update their user preferences as needed.  User information is confidential and secure.

To complete your My Profile, call My Support at 1-877-787-1989.

My E-Mail Set-Up

This feature makes relay call set-up easy for STS users.

STS users may tire and speech may become more difficult during long calls.  In order to speed up the set-up of the call, Minnesota Relay offers My E-Mail Set-up.  STS users can e-mail call instructions or information 2 to 24 hours prior to the call.  This can include information such as the number to be dialed, the name of the person being called, the subject of the call, any special instructions, or anything that makes it easier for the STS user to complete the call.  This feature cannot be used to request a specific communications assistant, schedule a STS call, or in lieu of placing a live call.

Before you use My E-mail Set Up, it is important to call My Support (1-877-787-1989).  The customer service representative will fill out your profile, such as your name, address, username, password, and other information.  When your customer profile is completed, you are ready to use My Email Set Up.

My Saved Messages

Imagine spending time dictating a message for an answering machine and then getting a busy signal and being unable to leave that message.  This is even more frustrating for STS users who may take 15 minutes to dictate that message.

With My Saved Messages, upon request, the STS communications assistant can copy any messages desired onto the customer’s profile for 24 hours.  When the STS user wants to try the call again, he/she simply redials STS and asks the communications assistant to retrieve the saved message.  After 24-hours, the message copied into the profile is automatically deleted from the system.

My Name and My Places

With My Name and My Places, receiving calls is now easier than ever for STS users.

Once a STS user registers My Name, voice callers can simply call STS relay and ask for the STS user directly by name – without having to provide the telephone number.

STS users can also be reached at multiple numbers.  Simply add multiple telephone numbers and hours of availability and the relay will do the rest.  When voice users call, we will simply reference the STS user’s My Places to view the registered phone numbers. Different numbers can be added for certain times of the day and days of the week.

My Style

STS users are able to determine how they would like Minnesota Relay to support them. Whether the STS user would like the communications assistant to re-voice the entire conversation, or simply repeat upon request, we will provide STS that meets the customers’ needs.

My Phonebook

Minnesota Relay can store up to 30 speed dial numbers in a STS user’s phonebook (in their customer profile).  To place a call, the STS user simply asks for a caller by name.

For more information on STS relay, please read Speech to Speech brochure (.pdf).

Review the instructions on making a STS relay call (.pdf).

Hearing Users:  1-800-627-3529

A hearing person may use a standard telephone (wired or wireless) to place a relay call and easily converse with a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or who has a speech disability.

Review the instructions on making a Minnesota Relay call (.pdf).

Text Telephone (TTY): 1-800-627-3529

This form of relay service allows a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or who has a speech disability to use a TTY to communicate with the other person on the call.  The CA reads the TTY user’s words to the other person, and types the other person’s words for the TTY user to read.

Voice Carry Over (VCO): 1-877-627-3024

VCO is an option for a person who can speak clearly but has hearing loss significant enough to prevent them from hearing and understanding conversations over the telephone.  Using VCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, a VCO user can speak directly to the other person on the call.  The CA types what is spoken by the other person for the VCO user to read.  To use VCO relay you must have a TTY, and a telephone or a specially designed VCO phone.

For more information on VCO relay, please read Voice Carry Over brochure (.pdf).

Two-Line VCO: 1-866-855-4611

This enhanced VCO feature allows you to use one telephone line for speaking directly to the other person, while the second line is used to receive the CA’s typed response from the other person. This offers more control and allows for interactive conversation without the use of “GA” (go ahead) instructions. You can respond in real time and even interrupt, rather than wait for the other party to say “GA.” Unlike typical relay calls, the CA does not identify the relay and is present only to type the voice of the standard telephone user.

In order to use two-line VCO you must have two telephone lines with separate phone numbers and subscribe to 3-way calling from your local telephone service provider.

Review the instructions on making a VCO (.pdf) or two-line VCO (.pdf) call.

Video Relay Service (VRS)

VRS is currently under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and is not a service of Minnesota Relay.

This Internet-based form of relay service allows persons whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with the relay communications assistant in ASL.  The VRS caller, using a television or a computer with a video camera device and a broadband (high speed) Internet connection, contacts a VRS communications assistant, who is a qualified sign language interpreter.  They communicate with each other in sign language through a video link. The VRS communications assistant then places a telephone call to the party the VRS user wishes to call.  The communications assistant relays the conversation back and forth between the parties – in sign language with the VRS user and by voice with the called party.  No typing or text is involved.  VRS allows conversations to flow in near real time and in a faster and more natural manner than text-based relay service.

The VRS communications assistant can be reached through the VRS provider’s Internet site, or through video equipment attached to a television.  Like all relay calls, VRS is free to the caller.

A voice telephone user can also initiate a VRS call by calling a VRS center, usually through the provider’s toll-free number.

Numerous providers offer Video Relay Service.

For more information regarding VRS visit FCC Video Relay Services.

900 Pay-Per-Call Services:  1-900-246-3324

This service allows a relay user to connect to any pay-per-call service.  Dial 1-900-230-3324 and provide the relay communications assistant with the pay-per-call service phone number that you would like to call.  You will be billed directly by the pay-per-call service at the rate specified by the provider.  Billing begins upon connection to the pay-per-call service.