Visually Assisted STS (Speech-to-Speech)

Visually Assisted Speech to Speech User

People who have difficulty speaking are often better understood when they can be seen. With Visually Assisted STS, Maryland Relay Operators use speech and visual cues to facilitate conversations for Speech-to-Speech (STS) users.

How It Works

  • Using a live video connection—via a webcam and computer with Skype™ software—the Maryland Relay Operator observes the Visually Assisted STS user’s mouth movements, facial expressions, and gestures as he/she speaks. This enables the Operator to better understand the Visually Assisted STS user’s words and intended meaning.
  • The Operator re-voices the Visually Assisted STS user’s words, as needed, to the other person.
  • The Visually Assisted STS user listens directly to the other person’s response.

To protect Operator anonymity, Visually Assisted STS users are not able to view Operators during calls. Likewise, an Operator will not indicate to the other person that he/she can see the Visually Assisted STS caller, unless instructed to do so.

Required Equipment

  • Telephone with active service
  • Computer and webcam
  • High-speed Internet connection (512 kbps is recommended)
  • Skype™ account (If you are not a Skype user, visit to create a free account)

To Make a Visually Assisted STS Call

  1. Make sure your computer and webcam are on, and you are logged into your Skype account.
  2. Use your phone to dial 7-1-1 or 855-828-6465.
  3. A Maryland Relay Operator will greet you and provide his/her Operator identification number.
  4. Tell the Operator that you’d like to make a “Visually Assisted STS” call. (You can also set up a Customer Profile, which automatically connects you to the appropriate Operator and lets him/her know your calling preferences.)
  5. Using Skype, the Operator will establish a video connection with you on your computer.
  6. Give the Operator the number you want to dial and any specific calling instructions.
  7. The Operator will dial the requested number and rely on your speech and visual cues to re-voice your words as needed throughout the conversation.

To learn more about placing and receiving Visually Assisted STS calls, please call our STS User Training Line at 866-269-9006 (English) or 866-744-7471 (Spanish).

Skype™ is a trademark of Skype. Maryland Relay is not affiliated, sponsored, authorized, or otherwise associated with the Skype group of companies.

Make a Visually Assisted STS Call

Dial 7-1-1 or 855-828-6465

Get STS User Training

866-269-9006 (English)
866-744-7471 (Spanish)

Streamline Your Calls

Create a Customer Profile, a personal profile that automatically lets the Maryland Relay Operator know your communication preferences.

Human Trafficking GET HELP

National Human Trafficking Hotline - 24/7 Confidential

1-888-373-7888 233733 More Information
on human trafficking in Maryland

Customer Service Promise

The State of Maryland pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers, and stakeholders with friendly and courteous, timely and responsive, accurate and consistent, accessible and convenient, and truthful and transparent services.

Take Our Survey

Help Stop Fraud in State Government

The Maryland General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Audits operates a toll-free fraud hotline to receive allegations of fraud and/or abuse of State government resources. Information reported to the hotline in the past has helped to eliminate certain fraudulent activities and protect State resources.

More Information