Video Relay Service (VRS) and IP Relay

Video Relay Service (VRS)

Person using video relay service

Video Relay Service, or VRS, enables anyone who uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate over the phone with the aid of a video-linked interpreter. Here is how it works:

  • The VRS user connects to the VRS interpreter online via either a computer with a webcam; a smartphone; or a tablet.
  • The VRS interpreter then places a telephone call to the person the VRS user wishes to call.
  • Once the call is connected, the VRS interpreter relays the conversation back and forth between the callers—translating the other person’s spoken words into sign language for the VRS user, and voicing the VRS user’s sign language for that person to hear. No typing occurs during a VRS call.

A VRS call flows back and forth relatively quickly for a more natural pace of conversation. Parties can interrupt each other, and the VRS user can express his or her intent through facial expressions and body language. Visit the FCC’s VRS Guide to learn more.

Internet Protocol Relay (IP Relay)

With IP Relay, Relay users simply need a computer, or smartphone, or other Internet-connected device to place and receive text-based Relay calls. A TTY is not required. Calls work like this:

  • The Relay user connects to the IP Relay Center online to initiate a call.
  • A Relay Operator then dials the number the IP Relay user wishes to call.
  • Once connected, the call proceeds in the same fashion as a TTY call, with the Relay Operator relaying the conversation back and forth between the two callers.

Visit the FCC’s IP Relay Guide to learn more.

Find a Service Provider

VRS and IP Relay are not provided by Maryland Relay, but are available to consumers through third-party providers. To see a list of current providers, visit the FCC’s provider directory.

Learn More at

VRS Guide
IP Relay Guide