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Relay Services

Providing specially-trained operators to relay telephone conversations back and forth between people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-disabled and all those they wish to communicate with by telephone.
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There are five circular photos with yellow lines connecting five individuals. Photo descriptions from left to right: 1) A woman sitting on a couch next to a wooden table. The table has a photo, lamp and a landline telephone with enlarged dial pad. The woman has dark skin, medium length hair, is wearing a white turtleneck top and is smiling while holding the telephone to her ear. 2) A girl with fair skin and strawberry blonde medium length hair is looking up to her left, away from the camera. She is wearing a tie-dyed sweatshirt. She has a feeding tube taped on her cheek. She is holding a tablet in both of her hands. 3) A man with dark skin and shaggy medium hair is looking away from the camera to his right. He is wearing a yellow shirt, silver necklace with pendant and a cordless headset phone. 4) A woman is sitting in front of her desk with a blue wall and a frame behind her. On her desk is a landline telephone and flowers. The woman has fair skin and red hair. She is wearing a pastel peach color buttoned up shirt and a black blazer. She is holding the telephone to her ear and is smiling. 5) A man with dark skin and short hair is smiling away from the camera to his right. He is wearing glasses, an orange shirt and a plaid buttoned shirt that is left open. He also is wearing a hearing device around his neck.

What is Speech-to-Speech (STS)?

The California Speech-to-Speech (STS) service enables individuals with a speech disability to communicate by telephone, independently.
  • A black man wearing a gold long sleeve shirt wearing a headset and microphone device to communicate with others.
  • A female young adult wearing rainbow tie dye sweatshirt, looking afar from her wheelchair, holding an iPad device in her hand.
  • An Asian man with black-rimmed glasses and hair, long sleeve plaid shirt and a green t-shirt, listening through a device and smiling.
  • A white Deaf man wearing a gold hat and gold-rimmed glasses. The man is wearing a tan t-shirt and has a flower tattoo on his left neck.
  • A blind Black woman wearing a white turtleneck shirt and blouse sitting on the couch, holding a white phone to her ear, listening to the caller on the other end of the line.

How STS Works

Assistance During Calls: When making a call using STS, a specially-trained STS Communications Assistant (CA) is on the line to assist you. The CA can repeat your words to the person on the other end, and you have control over how much of your speech is repeated. 

Equipment: No special equipment is required. You can use your own voice or a Speech Generating Device (SGD). 

Incoming Calls: People can also call you through the STS Relay Service, which provides a convenient communication option. 

Cost: There are no charges or added cost to use the STS service; your phone service provider may charge the regular cost to place a call, if any. STS is part of the Relay Service, a program of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 

Who Can Use STS?

The STS service is for anyone with a speech disability, including individuals with conditions such as stroke, laryngectomy, stuttering, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, brain injury, or any other condition affecting phone communication. STS is also available to individuals placing calls to you, like family, friends, medical professionals, or businesses. Utilize our calling card template for guidance in this process.
Download the Calling Card

How to Personalize Your STS Calls

Once you set up a customer profile you can personalize your communication preferences so that Communication Assistants will have it on file and your calls can be made more efficiently. To set personalize your STS calls you need to:

Call STS Relay Service:  

  • English: 1-877-632-9095
  • Spanish: 1-877-419-8440

Set Up Your Customer Profile: 

A representative will assist by explaining the Customer Profile options and submit your requested preferences for you. Some preferences include gender, frequently used numbers, long distance carrier, standard messages, and opening and closing messages. 

If you need to make a call and haven’t had time to set up a customer profile, you still have the option to provide some instructions to the CA before your call. For more information on how to personalize your calls, reference our guide.
Download Our Guide

Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS)

VA STS is an enhancement to the traditional Speech-to- Speech (STS) service. With a VA STS call, the STS caller must use a webcam or videophone with SkypeTM in addition to the basic phone call to the Relay service, to connect with the Communications Assistant (CA) at the Relay call center.

This one-way video connection allows the CA to see the STS user as they are speaking. Seeing the STS caller’s mouth movements, facial expressions, gestures, and possibly cue cards (e.g., yes, no, etc.) or alpha cards to help the CA better understand and re-voice for the caller. Users of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices can also share the information they are typing via SkypeTM using computer emulation.

To use VA STS, you will need:

A computer (PC or Apple®) with a webcam or comparable equipment to access the video service
A telephone or a device with a speakerphone (is recommended), placed close to the video device for a voice connection to the VA STS CA
Access to high-speed Internet with a minimum bandwidth of 256k upload/download speed. See the SkypeTM Web site for specific system requirements and bandwidth requirements to make SkypeTM video calls;
The ability to operate the equipment independently or with the assistance of a caregiver.

Find More Speech-to-Speech Resources

Explore more details on how STS calls work, the assistance provided by STS Communications Assistants (CAs), and options to personalize your STS call.

Download or Request Materials

Contact the STS Training Line

For questions about STS Training, call the STS Training Line to speak with a live operator. You can dial 711 or the numbers listed below and request the STS Training Line.

California Relay Service 
(available 24/7)

  • English: 1-877-632-9095
  • Spanish: 1-877-419-8440

Interested or need assistance?

For more information or assistance on services and how we can assist you or those that you care about, please call us or fill out the form below.
Call 1-800-806-1191
A younger masculine-presenting individual showing an older feminine-presenting individuals how to use their phone.


Contact Center
P.O. Box 30310
Stockton, CA 95213
Phone/VP: 1-800-806-1191
Fax: 1-800-889-3974


Welcome to California Connect, also called the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP), which provides communication access for Californians with hearing, vision, cognitive, mobility, and speech-related disabilities. The program of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) includes accessible communication equipment and devices, relay service, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices.
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