WebCapTel hits Australia

2 01 2010

…. and I’m mighty jealous! But I’m mighty happy for them too! I had WebCapTel for a couple of years until they ran out of funding in the UK and it was FABULOUS. It works in a different way from Text Relay (formerly known as Typetalk). With WebCapTel, the speaker’s voice is relayed to a computer (with operator overseeing) and the computer converts it into text displayed on the deaf person’s internet or mobile phone screen, the deaf person speaks back as normal. The beauty of this system is that you can use it with any landline or mobile phone and the text is relayed very fast, so it fits into the hearing world’s phone systems very well. I was using the WebCapTel phone system every day at work, in finance, so was relaying lots of numbers, and no one even realised I was deaf ….. it is THAT good. The operator cannot butt into your call like the Text Relay operator does, because the system doesn’t allow them to do it. It’s YOUR call. Fecking brilliant!

If you’re in Australia, you can sign up to the 2 year captioned telephony trial being run by the Australian Communication Exchange – enjoy it! Spread the word and tell us how you find it!

In the UK, we are still fighting for WebCapTel. Help the campaign by writing to your MP, or better still, make arrangements to phone them – the first time via Text Relay, and the second time via WebCapTel – so they can compare the services. Better still, get your MP to try phoning their bank or another automated phone number service via Text Relay – hehehe.  If you’d like to see a demonstration of WebCapTel,  email Telecommunications Action Group at tagenquiries @ hotmail.com

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Trying out WebCaptel, just log in (online on the WebCapTel site) the phone numbers you are calling from and calling to, and once the numbers are connected, your handset rings and you pick it up. The hearing person’s voice is relayed to your computer or phone screen within 3 seconds of being spoken.
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6 responses

3 01 2010
Jeremy Freeman

Lucky bastards! 🙂

3 01 2010
Sam

hmm interesting – I have never heard of WebCapTel which is why it doesn’t surprise me that it hasn’t taken off here in the UK! I will have to give it a go and see what happens.

3 01 2010
deafmuse

Sounds like Typetalk and that failed here didn’t it ? The issue is deaf people do not like using text this way, they prefer mobiles to each other and ask relatives to do the other. The thing with direct texting is hearing refuse to accept calls that way too. Typetalk was in extance for years and it STILL is not an accepted way of deaf calling a hearing person. With e-mails and faxes/mobile numbers where is the demand ? Even I can use a mobile to call most of the services and others I want to now, just text them a message….. relay systems are becoming obsolete or mostly used by hard of hearing who seem to like this mode. Deaf never took to them, and most never heard of TAG at all…. TAG is out of the deaf loop.

3 01 2010
funnyoldlife

@MM. I agree, Typetalk isn’t able to pull weight. But WebCapTel succeeds where Typetalk fails. I was able to make my own calls, including calls to the bank etc where they use automated systems. I don’t like asking other people to make my calls and I can’t send text messages to the bank, police, and lots of other people I would phone at work, they just refuse to accept SMS. WebCapTel gave me my independence but Typetalk just took it away again. Mobiles are great for me but only where I can send a text message as I can’t use a mobile to call anyone at all, I need the phone ringing/engaged tone relayed as well as the speech. It’s a toughie when hearing people don’t like Typetalk calls, neither do deaf, neither do automated services. WebCapTel & Video Relay are the way forward because they fit into and work with existing modern telephone systems – which have outgrown Typetalk.

3 01 2010
IanIlly

Here is a link from an article describing how this used to work. As Tina says, the hearing user at the other end was not aware of the captioned reception is wa so fast and natural.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/nov/13/hearing-impaired-phones

How I wish we had this. My TextPhone is very very dusty!

4 01 2010
speakuplibrarian

I learned about WebCapTel here in the US just recently. Here’s my blog post about it. That’s interesting to hear that you used it successfully at work. I hope you will get it back again in the UK.

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