Shared from the May 2017 edition of AppleVis Unlimited
DeafBlind Individuals Now Have a Way to Use Text Relay on iOS With Braille By Scott Davert May 16, 2017
On May 8, Sprint released a new update to the Sprint IP Relay app. While the description only states that there are “Miscellaneous bug fixes”, one of those bug fixes is very significant… it restores access for braille users. Until now, braille users have not had a reliable solution to access relay via their mobile devices.
What is Text Relay Anyway?
For those unfamiliar, text relay allows a deaf or DeafBlind person to access the phone system through a relay operator, who is a hearing person that can relay the message from the deaf or DeafBlind user to a hearing person on the phone. The deaf or DeafBlind person can type messages from a mobile device or computer, which a hearing operator will then read to the caller. The Relay Operator will then type back to the deaf or DeafBlind person what the hearing person on the phone has said.
Many deaf individuals, who are native sign language users, utilize video phone systems to communicate with the hearing world via telephone through a relay operator. For more information on Video Phones, see this article http://www.signinterpretingservices.com/common-questions.htm . However, this is not possible for an individual who does not have enough residual vision to see the person signing to them. Until last week, no such service was available on a mobile platform that worked reliably for braille users with a text interface. This meant, for example, that a totally DeafBlind person trying to access the phone system did not have a reliable way to do so. Calling 911 was not an option. While iOS 10 introduced a TTY Mode reviewed in the above linked article from a braille user’s perspective, it had some issues.
Read More: “DeafBlind Individuals Now Have a Way to Use Text Relay on iOS With Braille” https://www.applevis.com/blog/advocacy-assistive-technology-braille-ios-apps-iphone/deafblind-individuals-now-have-way-use