by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
One of the common complaints CapTel phone users have is garbled captions and missing words. Here are some “tricks” to improve your CapTel experience, and information on how to report problems by Pamela Holmes the Director, Consumer & Regulatory Affairs/CapTel Customer Service at Ultratec, Inc. She has the inside information on what you can (and should) do if you have problems with the captions on your CapTel phone. She explains:
First, users should be aware that the captionist can only hear the person’s voice they are captioning. The captionist cannot hear you if you try to give him/her any instructions or ask him to repeat something. Thus, if you are having any problems, here are some alternate ideas.
1. If you have 2-line CapTel, simply press the caption button off (to release the connection to the current captionist) and then press the caption button back on again. In 12-15 seconds a new captionist will be connected to your existing call. The hearing party will remain connected on Line 1 and you can speak to and “listen” (if you wish to use your residual hearing during this time) to the other party the whole time. To make this transition transparent to the other party, press off and on the caption button while you are doing the taking. The other party will have no idea anything has changed, yet a new captionist will be brought onto the call.
2. If you only have single line CapTel, and the call is not going well, it is best to hang up and get a new connection, or ask the other party to repeat what was said. After the call, jot down the time and date of the call and the CA number and send an email to CapTel describing briefly the experience on the call. CapTel Customer Service will follow up with the Captioning Service management and the CA and their supervisor to be sure the CA has the quality monitoring and skill set to caption the call at the standards we expect.
You can also call 1-888-269-7477 to speak to a CapTel Customer Service representative. They answer calls between 8 am and 5 PM Central Time, and are dedicated to assisting you.
3. If a call is garbled, shows dropped characters or the captions are nonsensical, then the cause may be due to interference on the phone line, or using a line that does not support the data connection required to carry the captions with accuracy. With voice recognition transcription there should be whole words. CapTel Customer Service can also help troubleshoot and identify the causes of such problems.
There you have it. If you are having troubles with your CapTel captioning, follow these tips. You don’t have to suffer in silence. The more you report captioning problems, the sooner the system will be improved.