Even if you've never made or received a Montana Relay call, you may answer the phone sometime in the future and hear, "Hello, this is Montana Relay..." When this happens, please don't hang up, thinking you are receiving a telemarketing or some other unsolicited call. One of our CAs will guide you through the call and help you experience the benefits of telecommunicating through Montana Relay. Remember, the CA will offer you an explanation of how relay calls work, so there's no reason to worry.
Anyone can use the relay at any time on any day by dialing 711. Montanans who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled commonly use a TTY (text telephone) to make calls.
The TTY device has a typewriter-style keyboard as well as a screen for displaying text and/or a paper printout. Montana Relay provides true, two-way communication between TTY users and anyone who uses a standard phone, and either person may initiate a call.
A Communications Assistant (called a CA) will speak aloud whatever is typed, so the standard phone user can hear it, and then type whatever is spoken aloud, so the TTY user can read it.
TTYs have a few special rules for how they're used, since they don't work exactly like a standard phone. Most important is, remember to take turns!
When the person on the other end of the line is done with whatever he wanted to say, he will type or say either "Go Ahead" or abbreviate it to GA. When you see or hear GA, you can talk, until you're done with whatever you wanted to say. Then you should say or type GA, so the other person will know it's once again their turn.
Montana Relay CAs have been specially trained to handle Relay calls. They communicate the typed and spoken words exactly as given and maintain absolute confidentiality about any conversation. Our CAs do not participate in conversations. Instead, they relay the words between both parties as if the CA is not there. The CAs also will type background noises and voice inflections for the TTY user, making the call more natural and realistic.