Talk:Telecommunications device for the deaf

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Fix up[edit]

When I get a chance I'll make this into a prettier article. I'll take a photo of my TDD and whack it in there as well.

Righteo, I did the subheadings, the TOC, photo and etiquette section. The other text I did not modify. Let me know what you think, break it is you want :)

The photo is released to the public domain, do anything you like with it.

--Sclozza 11:17, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Use of word "Minicom"[edit]

In the UK the word "Minicom" is used far more commonly than "textphone" but I'm not too sure how exactly to add it in the page - should I put in something like " In Europe, the term textphone is more commonly used, although in the UK the word "minicom" is widely used despite that this word is named after a brand of a TTD made by Ultratec". There's "proof" as sorts here:

What's your thoughts?

--EnglishDude 23:45, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm from the UK, and have never heard the thing referred to as a 'minicom.' I think the statement "In the United Kingdom the usual term is minicom" is misleading. The page you link to refers to "their range of text telephones developed specifically for the UK" and only uses the word 'minicom' in the context of a brand name. Njál 21:02, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, we have always called it a minicom, but I think thar "textphone/text phone/text-phone" is the current more common term - definitely by organisations. Rich Farmbrough, 12:33 22 December 2007 (GMT).
Using a brand name as a generic term is often the practice in sign language communities. One example, at Gallaudet, students often use the abbreviation VAX to mean "to send email". VAX is the brand name of a super computer produced by Digital Equipment Corporation. The use of this abbreviation for "email" is short-lived on the campus to be replaced by the newly coined sign EMAIL. English speakers do the same too in a few examples: TTY is also generic for hearing people for teleprinters produced by other companies, and Xerox is used as a verb to mean "to copy" also on non-Xerox Copiers. For a time "IBM" meant a computer generally, but not any more.

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was move. Although there was only the nominator's opinion in favor of a move and one person's weak opposition for a move, I feel that the singular is a better name. It is singular in the American Heritage Dictionary and comes up with 331,000 Google results vs. 56,700 for the plural (85%). Finally, while not invariable, the singular form is usually preferred for article titles. If anyone opposes my decision, let me know and I will reconsider. You also have my support if you want to just go through the requested move process again in case immediate re-requests are frowned upon. -- Kjkolb 08:31, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Telecommunications devices for the deafTelecommunications device for the deafRationale: Per WP:NAME, article titles should be singular. The target name has a redirect to the page which contains trivial edit history (one stub version, then the redirect). If you have any comments, please add them below. Hairy Dude 21:11, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Weak oppose The guideline cited is not invariable (see Complex numbers, and the plural probably makes better links. Septentrionalis 21:50, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Use of the word TDD[edit]

The phrase TDD is not considered politically correct in the United States. This is because users with cognitive language impariments, among others, use the TTY devices as well. The article should be modified to use the phrases "TTY/TDD" and "Text Telephone" as a replacement for "TDD" and "Telecommunications device for the deaf" respectively. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I groaned when TDD was introduced in our language. I found it unneccesary. However, I can see why it was important for Betty Broecker of Philadelphia who coined the term. She as advocate wanted the word "deaf" in the name as part of Deaf Pride and as a public relation gimmick to increase Deaf Awareness to show that we "own" this sort of telecommunication device that was "invented" by a deaf man and distributed by deaf volunteers, etc. all "Deaf made stuff". TTY remains to be used predominantly, because it is easier understood by the hearing than TDD. ~~Hartmut, 30 April 2012
That's interesting. Here in Australia I've never heard them called TDDs, only TTYs or telephone typewriters, and they are certainly used by hearing people (with speech impairments etc) here too. The article suggests that other terms are common in Europe, which leads me to wonder if the term TDD is a North American thing? One (US) website makes the following claim: "Many people use the two terms interchangeably, while others use TTY for mechanical teleprinters and TDD for the modern electronic gadgets which perform the same function in a fraction of the size and weight."

All TDD's are TTYs[edit]

Not all TTYs are TDDs. the TTY was invented in the 1930s and became popular in the 50s mostly for military use. The initials TTY stands for TeleTYpe and is a military designation having nothing to do with deafness. I had a model 50 Teletype that was made in the 1940s and it worked fine over the telephone at 50 baud but typed in all upper case. The use of TTYs for deaf communication was practiced by deaf ham radio operators long before the TDD or was conceived. Robert Weitbrecht invented nothing, that is why articles state that he is credited with inventing the TTY. It is known that many TTYs were used for deaf communication prior to 1960. Robert Weitbrecht did successfully popularize and helped standardize the device and deserves credit for that.

Comparing a google search for TTY vs one for TDD makes me wonder if the article should not in fact be renamed TTY? ntennis 02:32, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Software TTY/TDD and commercial links[edit]

I've been struggling with trying to determine who makes TTY/TDD software applications, voice modems, etc. and am wondering if it would go against the scope of Wikipedia to include a list of available resources to this Wikipedia page. Normally links to commercial vendors from the wiki are frowned on which is why I'm proposing the idea here. So far I've found

  • myTTY for Windows manufactured by IDRT. It does not look like the product has been updated since 2004 but that it works with Windows 98 and has a patch available for "all Windows operating systems" though I have no idea if that means it'll work with Vista for example. This is a software-only package meaning you also need to get a voice modem (not a standard modem).
  • NexTalk-VM for Windows manufactured by NXi Communications. NXi sells the software with a voice modem as a package though they say they will sell you the software only if you have a compatible voice modem. They do not have a list of compatible devices though.
  • CallTTY for Windows manufactured by DXsoft. This is aimed at the HAM radio market and entails that you construct an interface circuit. One benefit is that it uses a standard sound card and not the much harder to find voice modem.

Voice Modems - Would any V.253 standard modem qualify or do I need to look for something else?

The following are included for completeness but it looks like the companies offering them are out of business as of 2007.

  • Fulltalk for Windows manufactured by Microflip, Inc. This is an ISA voice modem card meaning it will not work with newer PCI-only computers. The Microflip web site is down and it's assumed this company is no longer in business.
  • Futura-TTY for MS-DOS and maybe Windows manufactured by Phone-TTY, Inc.
  • SoftTTY for the Macintosh.

I've deliberately not linked to the vendor's web sites as to not run afoul of linking policies. The frustration is that with a voice modem it would seem straightforward enough to generate the Baudot signaling codes meaning TTY/TTD software should be common but isn't. Marc Kupper (talk) (contribs) 23:45, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Scammer Usage[edit]

Could this article use a mention of how this service is rife with scammers using it to fleece people? Operators for this service are not allowed, by law, to say anything other than what is typed by the "user," so they are forced to be complicit in scamming folks. I understand such calls are a high percentage (majority even?) of the usage of this service. OR isn't allowed, of course, but there's bound to be some useful info out there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 22:56, 26 July 2007

This does not seem to be a problem with TTY but rather Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) which already has a section on the scammers at Telecommunications Relay Service#Fraudulent uses. A google for tty scammers finds articles from 2004. Is this still a current problem? Marc Kupper (talk) (contribs) 04:26, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
However most scams come through Internet Relay calls, not by TTY users.

Fair use rationale for Image:MCM Brochure.jpg[edit]

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Image:MCM Brochure.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 01:02, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Current status?[edit]

I'd be interested in seeing a section on the current status in the deaf community of TTY/TDD vs. things like instant messaging and cell phone texting (SMS). --agr (talk) 02:29, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

I believe these days TDD is only used to communicate with organizations/businesses and that most personal communication is done via e-mail, text messaging, etc. TDD has an additional barrier in that both users need to be familiar with the protocol (GA, SKSK, etc.) though in an emergency someone not familiar with the protocol could type out things as though it's an e-mail or instant message conversation to explain they have no idea what codes like Q, THX, etc. mean and the other side could then write back explaining at least GA and handling it like an instant message conversation. Unfortunately, that's all my personal understanding and not something that would pass RS/verifiability.
I would be curious to know if there are people that use the TDD conversation protocol with instant message systems and/or if there are Internet services that would allow someone to call a TDD line or user with the conversation being entirely text (no voice). --Marc Kupper|talk 20:57, 6 February 2009 (UTC)


I am an infrequent contributor, so I won't pretend to know all about the authoring and editing process. I encountered this article during the course of research. It would be nice to have some more authoritative sources referenced (if such exist). At first pass, I found no way to validate the historical account. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:17, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Visual Enunciation Display (VED)[edit]

I've deleted a section of the article titled "Controversy". It contained

In 1986 the TDD was made obsolete by the VED that did not require a device on the other end of the phone line. The Visual Enunciation Display was difficult to read and never produced commercially. Some of the VED displays are still in use and a not-for-profit organization in Texas hand-assembles units for deaf people who need them for employment.
The display's official name is in sign language with no direct English-word translation. The name VED is no longer used, to avoid confusion with the TDD. The sign starts with two fingers pointing at the eyes followed by waving similar to the sign for sound except coming from the eyes not the ear. The Deaf Communicator devices do have an English-model designation starting with Deafcomm1 followed by unique numbers for each model.
Several other devices have been developed that work even better but none are available commercially at this time. The TDD and its TTY variants remain the only non-experimental officially recognized device for deaf telecommunications.

My problems with this section are:

  • A complete lack of citations nor anything that could be used to verify this. "Visual Enunciation Display" and "Deafcomm1" only finds this Wikipedia article or copies of it. It's possible this entire thing was made up and added to the article as a form of vandalism.
  • As stated - it appears to be an experimental device that was never produced commercially.
  • It's a minor point but I'm not sure why the section was named "Controversy" and not "Visual Enunciation Display (VED)".
  • As it "did not require a device on the other end of the phone line" it's not clear that this used TDD signaling at all though as it does seem to qualify as a "Telecommunications device for the deaf".
  • I have a problem with the last sentence as it ignores the availability of devices such as the Captioned Telephone or the Telecommunications Relay Service.

It would be great if someone could dig up reliable/verifiable sources about the VED so that something could be added back to the article as this does seem to be one of the historical devices used to allow the deaf to communicate over via the telephone system. --Marc Kupper|talk 20:36, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

711 and alternatives[edit]

The article doesn't seem to mention the following:

  • The use of 711 to call the voice end of a TTY/voice relay. Is that just in Massachusetts or throughout the USA? How about Australia and other countries?
  • Alternatives to TTY, such as voice/ASL interpretation via videophone.

David Spector (talk) 20:17, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Disparaging comment about A.G. Bell[edit]

The History section ends with the phrase "A.G. Bell, who is one of the major historical oppressors of the Deaf Community." For one, it seems that such a comment is out of place in the article, regardless of its truth or falsity, considering that this is an encyclopedia. I've read biographies of Alexander Graham Bell, and my recollection is that he worked quite a lot to help the deaf. IIrc, his wife (born Mabel Grosvenor?) was deaf, and it's likely that having a deaf spouse only made his desire to help that much greater.

For the record, I can surely sympathize with deaf people who are treated badly by others; I have typical hearing loss, myself, and am sluggish and stubborn about getting a pair of hearing aids. Regards,Nikevich (talk) 08:28, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the clause with "oppressor" is out of place in an encyclopedia. Rather, Bell can be described to have failed to invent a device that deaf people could use over the telephone network or to instruct his company to work on an alternative for deaf people. For example, using his close friend Samuel Morse's code over the telephone was feasible at that time and costs very little money. Electrical dot-dah signals can be converted to light flashes or vibrations in a common door bell. All deaf kids in the early years of telephone would learn Morse Code in deaf schools and then use radio equipment to tele-communicate outside of the telephone network. Bell must have thought of it, I cannot imagine that he did not. He chose not to do it, for he is too obsessed with teaching speech and it encourages seperatism of deaf from hearing people (See his "Memoir on Deaf Variety of Human Race"). ~~Hartmut, 30 April 2012.

Under Baudot Protocol, information on what two frequencies should be included. I used to know them, but unfortunately I forgot them. ~~Hartmut, 30 April 2012 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 30 April 2012 (UTC)