By Ultratec

How Does the CapTel™ Phone Work?

Diagram: How the CapTel phone works

CapTel phone users place a call in the same way as dialing a traditional phone. As they dial, the CapTel phone automatically connects to a captioning service. When the other party answers, the CapTel phone user hears everything that they say, just like a traditional call.

Behind the scenes, a specially trained operator at the CapTelSM captioning service transcribes everything the other party says into written text, using the very latest in voice-recognition technology. The written text appears on a bright, easy-to-read display window built into the CapTel phone. The captions appear almost simultaneously with the spoken word, allowing the CapTel phone users to understand everything that is said — either by hearing it or by reading it.

What Equipment & Services are Needed?

  1. A Captioned Telephone (CapTel)
    A specialized telephone designed specifically to interact with the CapTel Captioning Service in order to display captions. The telephone does not, all by itself, translate spoken words into written captions. It can also be used as a traditional amplified telephone, without the captions feature.
  2. CapTel Captioning Service
    The CapTel Captioning Service transcribes the caller's spoken words into written captions, which appear on the CapTel phone display. The cost of the captioning service is covered by Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) funds as part of Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Telephone Line Requirements:
CapTel requires connection to a standard analog telephone line (or analog port), such as is commonly found in households. You cannot connect CapTel to a digital telephone line (as is sometimes found in offices) or to any other non-analog telephone line. Users in an office environment should check with their telephone administrator to make sure an analog port is available. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) users can connect a CapTel phone if the appropriate inline analog filter is installed between the phone jack and the CapTel. Inline filters are commonly available from the DSL provider.

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About Long Distance Charges

New FCC Ruling Requires Customers Be Billed for Long Distance Calls
Learn more

See CapTel in Action!

Learn more about CapTel with this introductory video you can view online.

"The people I have communicated with think this is wonderful technology."

— G.G., Maryland

"As a result of the CapTel, I am much more comfortable on the phone as opposed to the past."

— J. Joyce, Wisconsin

See more of what people are saying

Everyone Can Use CapTel

Simply turn off the caption feature to make or receive calls as you would with any other telephone.

2-Line CapTel

CapTel can operate in two different modes:

  • Standard CapTel uses one telephone line.
  • 2-Line CapTel uses two separate telephone lines (limited availability).

More about 2-Line CapTel

Contact Us

(888) 269-7477 (voice)
(866) 670-9134 (español)
(800) 482-2424 (TTY)