FAQs and General TTY Etiquette Tips for New TTY Users---Some of the tips suggested are similar to new E-mail users which many more deaf and hard-of-hearing persons are using in favor of the TTY. This is only a brief overview—if you desire more information and tips, I suggest the GA AND SK ETIQUETTE book (refer to the reference section at the end ).
More and more deaf and hh users are opting for wireless messaging pager systems which allows the user to send and receive email, TTY messages, faxes, text-to-speech and speech- to- text messages, and a text message to any one-way alphanumeric pager (WyndTell-This device has a monthly service charge, like the cellular phone systems). More cellular phones are now compatible with the TTY and hearing aids and as they become less expensive and easier to use, its use will be more widespread.
Recently (1999 July 14th) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established rulings which will have a major impact on ensuring accessibility to persons with disabilities...it’s being called the "ADA for the Information Age". We will see more and more devices on the market that will enable differently-abled persons to communicate easily.
1. What is the proper term to use when noting TTY numbers –
is it TDD, TT, TTD or TTY and why? TTY (note that this is capitalized).
The proper notation is TTY (teletypewriter) and it doesn’t matter whether you are using an older model (teletypewriter) or the newer model (telecommunication device for the deaf—abbreviated as TDD).
TTY is the culturally preferred term and is used by most deaf and hh users as it is a term which includes hearing users. TDD implies that only deaf people use the device when in fact there are also hearing users
1. How many rings should I allow when calling a deaf or hh TTY user?
You should let the phone ring 10 or more times to allow the Deaf or HH person enough time to see the flashing light and respond to it.
2. How do I know whether I am getting a TTY call?
When you pick up the phone and hear nothing or a series of electronic beeps, assume that this may be a TTY call. Put the phone on the TTY coupler (usually the mouthpiece goes into the left acoustic coupler) and make sure it fits snugly into the acoustic cups. Turn on the off/on switch. (Do not assume it’s a prank call and hang up).
3. What do I do after I put the phone on the TTY?Type a short message identifying yourself and the place of work if appropriate. It is considered polite to type your name immediately after you answer a TTY call.
DO: (type) HI THIS IS SUE GA or HELLO THIS IS SUE AT WML REF DESK GADON’T: (type) GA or HELLO GA
4. How can I speed up my TTY conversation?
Use common abbreviations such as those that are used in e-mail messages. (Refer to the Abbreviation Glossary in the appendix). Do not type punctuation or number symbols because this requires you to use 2 keys which is time-consuming. You may omit punctuation symbols and spell out numbers. Some words such as articles and linking verbs are often omitted in TTY conversations.
DO: I WANT TO TY FOR NEWSLTR ARTICLE AND MSG U SENT ME FRI ABT….DON’T: I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR THE NEWSLETTER ARTICLE AND MESSAGE YOU SENT ME FRIDAY ABOUT ….DO: HI, THIS IS SUE AT WML MAY I HELP U Q GA DON’T: GOOD MORNING, THIS IS WALLACE MEMORIAL LIBRARY REFERENCE DESK THIS IS SUE WHITE SPEAKING HOW MAY I HELP YOU Q GA
5. What do GA, SK and HD stand for?
GA is an abbreviation for "go ahead" and is a turn-taking signal for the other person to start typing. SK is an abbreviation for "stop keying" and a signal that you are done with the call and ready to sign off. HD is an abbreviation for "hold".
6. Can I interrupt the person without getting the GA?
In general, no, wait until the other person types GA.
DON’T: (A): I want to know whether u have video using the tty
(B): (interrupting) YES I SAW IT ALREADY AND I KNOW WHERE IT IS AND IT’S A GREAT VIDEO GA
7. What if I can’t read the person—may I interrupt? What if I have an
emergency? What if I answer the phone and must leave immediately?
Yes, if you are getting garbled messages or numbers and can’t read the message, interrupt by typing "STOP PLS" or XX STOP STOP CAN’T RD U XX" or "HD HD HD" and wait for the other person to respond. Then type something like this: "SORRY I MISSED UR MSG IT WAS GARBLED PLS TYPE AFTER I MEET U AT QQ" or "PLS REPEAT" or "I CAN’T RD U CAN U RD ME Q".
DO: (A): (Typing and message is garbled). X8#4%S*
(B): STOP HD CAN’T RD U HD GA
If you need to close and hang up fast, you may type a fast closing with a brief explanation.
DON’T: A: BYE GA to SK
B: (puzzled) what wait I’m not done yet ga
A: MUST GO SKSKSKS
DO: A: have to go now cuz baby crying will call back ok q ga to sk or my boss is here with me now will call back ga to sk or jim just came in and needs me i will call back ga to sk
B: OK BYE SK
If you must leave immediately, type a fast message and closing like this:
DO: PLS EXCUSE ME I HAVE TO GO TO MTG NOW PLS CALL BACK AT 4 PM OK Q THX BYE GA TO SK
8. What do I do when I make a typing error?
Just type XXX after the error and retype. It’s too time consuming to use the backspace key to correct your error. Some errors may not need to be corrected if it’s easily understood.
Acceptable Errors: I LOVE TO EAT APLE or I LIKE TO RD UR BOOKKS
DON’T: MESM IN ERIZING
DO: MESMIN XX MESMERIZING or I LOKE XX LIKE TO RD UR BKS
9. Why is it that I seem to communicate more with a Deaf person via TTY
or e-mail than in face to face conversations?
If the hearing person doesn’t know sign language it is often easier and less stressful for both hearing and deaf/hh persons to communicate this way to make sure communications are clear. Be aware that for some deaf and hh TTY users, English is their second language and they may not be comfortable with the TTY either as they may feel they can express themselves more clearly in ASL.
10. Why do TTY calls seem to be "business-like" and not so "social"?
TTY calls take longer than a voice call. Therefore, most Deaf and HH people prefer to keep their calls short to get needed information such as making or canceling an appt., or finding out when and where a mtg will occur. Detailed conversations are saved for face to face meetings.
DON’T: A: I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS A MEETING TOMORROW FOR DEAF AWARENESS WEEK ACTIVITIES AND IT WAS DIFFICULT TO GET EVERYONE TOGETHER I CALLED BOB AND HE HAD A CONFLICT WITH A FAMILY GATHERING THEN I CALLED SUE AND SHE HAD A CONFLICT BLAH BLAH BLAH
DO: JUST A SHORT CALL TO LET U KNOW DAW MTG TMW AT 8 PM AT PIZZA HUT WILL EXPLAIN MORE ABT HARD TIME GETTING EVERYONE GA
11. How do I show feelings on the TTY?
Type "HAHAHA", "SMILE", "GREATTT!", "SUPERRR!" "SIGHHH", "FROWN". Some email acronyms may be used as well such as LOL etc.
DON’T: THANK YOU FOR THE DINNER LAST NIGHT I HAD FUN GA
DO: WOWWW I HAD SOO MUCH FUN AND DINNER WAS DELICIOUSSS LET’S DO IT AGAIN SMILE GA
12. How many SKs should I type at the end of my TTY conversation?
Typically 2-3 are enough. More than 4 can appear rude and may indicate that you are angry or want to get away quickly.
DON’T: A: HAVE A GOOD DAY SEE U SOON GA TO SK
B: thx u have a nice day too sksksksksk
A: (Puzzled—is s/he angry, upset or doesn’t want to talk to me?)
DO: A: HAVE A GOOD DAY SEE U SOON GA OR SK
B: thx u have a nice day too bye now ga to sk
A: BYE SK SK
13. What is the "Ping-Pong" closing?
Before you finish your conversation, it’s polite to type GA OR SK or GA TO SK to allow the person at the other end to close the conversation and make sure both parties have said everything they wanted to say.
DON’T: A: HAVE A NICE DAY GA OR SK
DO: A: HAVE A NICE DAY SEE U TMW GA OR SK
B: lkg frwd to see u tmw take care ga to sk
A: BYE BYE SK
14. Can I save the TTY paper print-out?
If you keep it, you should have the other person’s knowledge and consent. This is similar to a hearing person’s phone conversation being recorded. Therefore, it may be an unethical invasion of privacy and illegal if the other person doesn’t know you’re keeping the paper print-out. TTY print-outs may be used as admissible evidence in the courtroom.
If there is important information on the print-out such as a date, address or phone #, copy it and then destroy the TTY print-out.
15. What do the red signal lights indicate on the TTY?
It lets you know what’s happening on the phone line.
Steady glowing red flashes: Dial tone
Slow red blinking flashes: Phone is ringing
Fast red blinking flashes: Phone line is busy
Flickering red light: A hearing person answered by voice. Press the space bar a few times to let him/her know it’s a TTY call.
16. Who invented the TTY?
In 1963, a deaf man by the name of Robert H. Weitbrecht developed an acoustic coupler that made it possible to connect the telephone to a TTY in order to make phone calls.
17. Can you give us a sample TTY conversation?
A: HELLO SUE HERE WML REF DESK MAY I HELP U Q GA
B: hi do u have the book titled ga to sk etiquette by sharon j cagle and keith m cagle q ga
A: HD PLS I WILL CHK CATALOG HD
B: ok ga
A: YES WML HAS IT CALL NU IS HV 2502.5 C344 1991 GA
B: ok I will pick it up this afternoon what floor do i get the book ga
A: U WILL FIND IT ON FOURTH FLOOR U ALSO CAN FIND IT AT RES DESK GA
B: ok great thx for ur assistance have a great afternoon ga or sk
A: UR WELCOME U HAVE A GOOD ONE TOO BYE NOW GA TO SK
B: bye bye sksk
18. Are there national and local TTY directories?
Yes , the "Blue Book" (REF HV 2510.N38 1998) is an annual international TTY directory published by Telecommunications for the Deaf Inc. RTCAD is a TTY Rochester directory (REF HV 2510.R62 1999) published by the Rochester Tel-Com Association of the Deaf. Both directories are in the Reference section on the 1st floor. The Health Association - MCAHI publishes a Rochester community resource book called Finding Your Way for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing People
19. Is there a video that explains more about how to use a TTY?
Yes, there is. USING YOUR TTY – VH 918 (CC, 30 mins) is available at ETC-MRC (basement level) and highly recommended.
20. Does NTID have a room with TTY devices, pagers, etc.?
Yes, check out the Weitbrecht Room at NTID in the LBJ Building 60--it is located next to the Self Instruction Lab, 3205.
TTY ABBREVIATION LIST
ASAP-As soon as possible
CA-Communication Assistant (Relay Operator)
CUL-See you later
GA TO SK—Go ahead if you have more to say but I’m finished
HAND—Have a nice day
HOH or HH—hard-of-hearing
ILY—I love you
KIT –Keep in touch
LK FRWD—Look forward
NBR or NU—Number
NOYB-None of your business
NTID—National Technical Institute for the Deaf
OIC—Oh I see
OXOX—Love and Kisses
SRVC or SVC or SERV—Service
SK—Stop Keying (end of call)
TRS—Telecommunications Relay Service
VCO—Voice Carry Over (Relay Service)
HCO—Hearing Carry Over (Relay Service)
WML—Wallace Memorial Library
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Cagle, Sharon J. GA and SK Etiquette—Guidelines for Telecommunications
in the Deaf Community. Bowling Green, OH: BG Press, 1991.
(Call no.: HV 2502.5 C344 1991—available at the Reserve desk and on the 4th
This is a good guide to TTY use. Highly recommended and available at Campus Connections.
MCAHI (The Health Association). Community Resource Handbook-Finding
Your Way for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing People. Rochester,
NY: The Health Association-MCAHI, 1998.
This is a great comprehensive resource and lists accessible services and programs in the Rochester, NY area. There is a discount for the guide if there are bulk orders. Contact Matthew Starr via TTY 716-326-4301 or e-mail: mstarr@TheHealthAssociation.org.
Moore, Matthew S. & Panara, Robert. Great Deaf Americans—the
2nd ed. Rochester, NY: Deaf Life Press, 1996. (Call No.:
HV 2534.A3 M66 1996—available on 4th floor)
This is a comprehensive biography book of deaf persons in various fields.
Panara, Robert & Panara, John. Great Deaf Americans.
Silver Spring, MD: TJ Publishers, 1983. (Call No.: HV 2534 A3P35 1983—available
on 4th floor)
The first comprehensive biography book of deaf persons. A great read!
RTCAD. 1999 TTY Rochester NY Directory. Rochester,
NY: RTCAD, 1999. (Call no.: REF HV 2510.R62 1999-- available in the Reference
section, 1st floor).
This is a directory for the Rochester, NY area and lists useful TTY numbers. When you join RTCAD, you get a free directory. Contact: Paula Wollenhaupt, 54 Thorndyke Rd., Rochester, NY 14627-3802. TTY: 716-544-5285.
TDI. The Blue Book—1998 TDI National Directory and Guide.
Silver Spring, MD: TDI, 1997. (Call no.: REF HV 2510.N38 1998—available in the
Reference section, 1st floor).
This is a comprehensive international TTY directory which lists business, residential, toll-free, fax, and relay service numbers. It also lists e-mail addresses, WWW sites and has "yellow pages" in the back for advertisers. It is published every January. When you join the organization, you receive the directory and a GA-SK newsletter. You may also just order the directory. Contact: TDI, Inc. 8630 Fenton St., Ste 604, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3809. Voice phone: 301-589-3786; TTY phone: 301-589-3006; Fax: 301-589-3797; E-mail: email@example.com; WWW site: http://www.tdi-online.org/
TDI. Using Your TTY (videorecording). Burtonsville,
MD: Sign Media Inc., 1989. (Call no.: VH 918—Available at ETC-MRC—Basement level).
This 30 min. CC video describes in detail the procedures for making and receiving TTY phone calls. It includes the use of abbreviations and punctuation, TTY etiquette and a brief history of TTY development. This video may be ordered through TDI (see above).
Ameriphone—12082 Western Ave., Garden Grove, CA 92841-2913.
Voice: 800-874-3005; TTY: 800-772-2889; Fax: 714-897-4703; E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org;
WWW site: http://www.ameriphone.com/
Has a TTY that uses "Express Typepress" which lets you key as rapidly as you wish to any TTY without freeze-up. Also offers the Q90 portable TTY which can be used with cellular and cordless phones.
Campus Connections Bookstore, RIT. Voice: 716-475-2505;
TTY: 716-475-7071. WWW site: http://bookstore.rit.edu/cgi-db2/index.mac/top?provider=0&store=1&session=CMT0MC0CKT0CAC0OMMOAD&uval=23056189
Carries a variety of TTYs and other devices such as light signalers.
Federal Communications Commission—FCC—Voice: 888-225-5322;
TTY: 888-835-5322; E-mail address: email@example.com
and WWW site:
Keeps one abreast of current rulings affecting access to telecommunications, digital tv, etc.
Harris Communications, Dept. TD198, 15159 Technology Drive,
Eden Prairie, MN 55344. Voice: 800-825-0564; TTY: 800-551-4118; Fax: 612-906-1099;
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; WWW site: http://www.harriscomm.com.
Offers a variety of TTY devices, including portable ones for travel.
Potomac Technology, One Church St. Suite 101, Rockville,
MD 20850-4158. Voice or TTY: 301-762-4005 or 301-762-0851; Fax: 301-762-1892;
E-mail address: email@example.com
and WWW site: http://www.potomactech.com
Offers a variety of TTYs
reachNET, PO Box 21204, Baltimore, MD 21228. Voice: 410-522-0600;
TTY: 410-563-3840; Fax: 410-522-0185; Toll-free: 888-RNET-008; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
WWW site: http:// www.reachnet.net.
Offers a wireless TTY.
Ultratec, 450 Science Drive, Madison, WI 53711; Voice
or TTY: 608-238-5400; Fax: 608-238-3008; E-mail address: email@example.com
and WWW site:http:// www.ultratec.com.
Offers TTYs with the "Turbo Code" enabling the user to type faster without freeze-up.
Weitbrecht Communications, Inc., 2656 29th
St., Suite 205, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Voice: 310-452-8613; TTY: 310-452-5640;
Fax: 310-450-9918 and WWW site: http://www.weitbrecht.com
Offers a wide variety of TTYs.
Wynd Communications--Voice phone: 800-549-9800; TTY phone:
800-549-2800 and Fax: 805-781-6001; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
WWW site address: http://www.wynd.com.
Offers Wyndtell, a paging device that enables the user to send and receive TTY, e-mail, faxes, pages and text-to-speech or speech-to-text messages.
Links checked 17 August 2004.
Compiled by Joan Naturale; E-mail email@example.com