Video Relay Service (VRS)

This type allows an individual with a disability to carry on his conversation in American Sign Language (ASL). The CA is still connected simultaneously to both conversational parties, but in this case the connection between the individual with a disability and the CA is via the Internet, and they both use video equipment to see each other and sign back and forth. The connection between the CA and the other party can be via standard telephone equipment on a standard telephone line. The CA, who is fluent in ASL, voices to the other party what the individual with a disability signs, and then signs back the other party’s spoken responses.

Although VRS is not specifically required by the ADA, it has become increasingly popular with both individuals with disabilities and those with whom they communicate via telephone. Using sign language instead of typing often results in a more smoothly flowing conversation between the parties.

There are some other types of relay services, and a number of specific standards related to the availability, quality, timeliness, and confidentiality of the service. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  establishes standards and handles complaints related to TRS.