Speech-to-Speech Relay Service
What is STS?
The California STS service enables people whose speech is difficult for others to understand to communicate by telephone. With this service, you can make calls by yourself, independent of the availability of your assistant or caregiver. When you make a call using STS, a specially-trained STS Communications Assistant (CA) will be on the line with you to assist you during your call. The CA can repeat what you are saying for the person on the other end. You and the person on the phone with you can decide how much of your speech will be repeated: only particularly difficult words or every word you say. No special equipment is needed. You may use your own voice or a Speech Generating Device (SGD). People can also make a call to you through the STS Relay Service. There is no charge to use this STS service; you pay only for the cost of the call from your phone service provider, if any. The California STS service is part of the Relay Service, a program of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
Who can use STS?
The STS service can be used by anyone whose speech is difficult for others to understand on the phone and would like to have assistance during their call. This service may be especially beneficial for people who have had a stroke, a laryngectomy, who stutter, have Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, brain injury, or any other condition that causes others to have difficulty understanding the user’s speech on the phone. People can also make a call to you through the STS service, e.g., family members, friends, medical professionals or businesses.
How to personalize your STS calls
Let the Relay Service Providers know in advance how you want your STS call handled:
You can let the Relay Service Provider know exactly how you want your calls handled by setting up a Customer Profile. That includes, but is not limited to:
- Conversation related information (e.g. a customized explanation of STS service to be provided to the persons you call or a standard message from you that can be left on answering machines)
- Call setup-related information (e.g., your selected provider for toll calls; a list of most frequently called names and numbers; when and where you can be reached if someone tries to contact you through STS Relay)
Even if you don’t have a Customer Profile, you can give the CA instructions before (s)he places your call. For example:
- You can ask the STS CA to re-voice everything you say, to only re-voice when the person you are talking to doesn’t understand, or not to re-voice anything unless you ask for assistance.
- Before the actual call is placed, you can dictate a message to the CA to be used during the conversation.
- You can ask the CA to retain parts or all of a message for use in future phone calls.
California Relay Service
Please note: As of December 2, 2015, 711 Choice is no longer available. To ensure a smooth transition, California Connect has converted all 711 Choice information into Customer Profiles. This ensures that your call is answered in the language and modality (e.g. TTY, VCO, HCO) of your choice.
Want more information about STS?
Want to find out more about how a STS call works? How exactly can a STS CA assist you? What are your options to personalize your STS call?
Relay service, including Speech-to-Speech, is provided in California by California Connect.
You can also download or request Relay Service printed materials:
To receive a print copy, please call 1-866-409-0178 and provide your name, address, and which documents you would like to receive.
You can also contact the STS Training Line to discuss your questions with a live operator. Call Customer Service and request the STS Training Line.
California Relay Service (available 24/7):
DDTP first in Nation to provide Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS)
The Relay Service is offering a new service that can enhance the Relay experience of individuals with a speech disability: Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS).