Typetalk is the BT funded national relay service run by RNID. It links textphone and voice phone users. The idea is very simple. If you want to talk to someone who uses a voice phone you call a Typetalk operator who will read out your messages and type replies from the person you are talking to. Calls made to you from a voice phone are relayed in the same way.
Dial 0906 680 6666 for an automated 24hr service. Calls cost 25p a minute and are added to your phone bill.
Typetalk has the advantage that the person you are speaking to can be using any phone, anywhere. Typetalk operators are trained to be helpful, friendly and they understand the importance of absolute confidentiality.
However some people do not like going through a third person and some feel the system forces them to go too fast - they do not feel they can hesitate as they might in a direct conversation.
You can send e-mails, faxes and SMS text messages from a textphone through Typetalk Message Master. Dial 0906 302 6666 between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. An operator will take your message and send it for you. Calls cost 50p a minute and are added to your phone bill.
PO Box 284
Liverpool L69 3UZ
Text helpline 0800 500 888
Voice helpline 0800 7311 888
Typetalk has a special number for emergency services - 0800 112 999
With BT TextDirect, you just dial 18000.
Most telephone services, such as directory enquiries and calls to the operator work with BT TextDirect and Typetalk although you have to dial different numbers to get them.
Public text payphones
These can be found in a few main railway stations, airports and in some other places. They are few and far between - under 80 in the UK at the last count. Typetalk have a free leaflet which gives addresses. More are planned which work with newer phone cards.
This is a new system, which will be launched in July 2001. When you make a call from a textphone you will dial 18001 before the phone number you are calling. If your textphone uses a different code to the textphone you are calling, the system will automatically translate. If you call someone who answers on a voice phone a Typetalk operator will be called in automatically to relay messages.
From July, if you want to call a textphone from an ordinary phone dial 18002 before the number you are calling and a Typetalk operator will take it from there.
Next Page: How to get a textphone