Type & Read

How it works

diagram of a Type & Read call

View demo


  1. Enter one of the following numbers on your TTY to make a Type and Read call:

    - 133 677 for all calls to local, interstate, overseas or premium rate (1900) numbers
    - 1800 555 677 to call a free 1800 number.
  2. When asked, enter the area code and number of the person you want to call. The NRS computer will dial the number you have entered and the call will be taken over by a relay officer. If you make a mistake in the phone number don't worry. The computer will either ask you again or automatically transfer you to the relay officer who will ask you for the number and dial it for you.
  3. The relay officer will introduce themselves and tell you if the person you are calling has answered the phone, if the phone is still ringing or if the number is engaged.
  4. At the start of your conversation, remember to tell the other person who you are by typing your name because they will not be able to hear your voice. See common abbreviations used when typing during a relay call.
  5. If you need to communicate directly to the relay officer during a conversation, use brackets around the words, eg (please repeat that) - otherwise what you type will be relayed. If the relay officer needs to communicate directly to you they will also use brackets.

If you want to make overseas or premium-rate (1900 number) calls you will need to pay beyond the cost of a standard NRS call. See more about overseas and premium-rate calls.


image of superprint TTY in use

You will need a specialised fixed-line phone known as a TTY.

This is a type of phone with a keyboard where you can type your side of the message and a small display screen where you can read what the other person has said to you.

There are two main models of TTYs - Superprint (right) which provides a printout of the conversation and which is usually the preferred TTY for Type and Read users, or Uniphone, a combined TTY and telephone.

In most cases you can rent a TTY for about the same cost as an ordinary phone through the  disability equipment schemes offered by Telstra and Optus.

Other equipment

You might find other equipment useful, such as a phone arm, flashing light or phone double adaptor. This will depend on your personal requirements.

Contact the Helpdesk for more information on disabiltiy equipment schemes, and where to obtain TTYs and other specialised equipment that you might need.

You type your side of the conversation on your TTY. A relay officer speaks your words to the other person and types their responses back for you to read on your TTY screen.

Relay officers are the central link in the phone call. They stay on the line through out each call to help it go smoothly, but do not change or interfere with what each person says.

Please note

  • TTYs may not be usable in a few years because they are an old technology.
  • Instead of making calls on a TTY you could use Internet Relay if you have an internet connection, SMS Relay if you’ve got a mobile phone, or Video Relay if you want to sign your calls over the internet using Auslan.

More info

See the video demo with voice and captions.

See also tips for making calls.

See the step-by-step tab here if you want to call a Type & Read user.

See our Type & Read factsheet.

Make an Internet Relay call Make a Captioned Relay call

24-hour relay call numbers

  • TTY/voice calls

    133 677

  • Speak & Listen

    1300 555 727

  • SMS Relay

    0423 677 767

Make other relay calls
– all the numbers you need
I've been deaf since birth. The relay service makes life much easier and gives me the freedom to keep in touch with everyone. It's good to be independent without relying on other people to make calls for me."


Engineering assistant