Video Conference and Speech to Text Translation Tools for the Late-Deafened, Deaf, Hard-of- Hearing and our Hearing Allies
The Association of Late-Deafened Adults, ALDA, Inc. remains thankful to everyone for keeping their distance during the coronavirus pandemic. We all need to remain connected and technology is making this possible with videoconferencing platforms to see and hear people online and speech-to-text apps when lipreading is not possible. With the latest technology, this allows not only hearing people, but the Late-Deafened, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People to celebrate everything from birthday parties to marriages, attend webinars, online classes and house of worship services.
Here are some options for your consideration. Please note the list is not all inclusive and your suggestions and feedback are welcome and appreciated.
1. VIDEO CONFERENCING:
A. WEBEX (Computer and App): Webex provides good quality video to assist with lip reading, sign language or seeing the person to capture cues and understand what is being said. A free basic service allows you to set up a meeting account for up to 100 people and there are no time limits for the duration of the connection. It operates in much the same way as Zoom noted below. A strong contender to Zoom. https://www.webex.com/
B. ZOOM (Computer and App): Zoom offers the same with a meeting of up to 100 people but has a forty-minute limit on any conversation. Zoom had recent security risk issues due to hackers penetrating videoconferences and passwords are now in use. Regardless, this remains a popular platform. https://zoom.us/
C. SKYPE (Computer and App): A free service used mainly for 1:1 calls available by Desktop, Mobile Phone, Tablet, Xbox and Alexa. Skype includes Skype Translator which provides real time captioning (speech to text translation) for the hard of hearing and Deaf by converting spoken words into instant written text.
D. WEB CAPTIONER (Computer only): A free resource for captioning where captioning may not be offered, otherwise for use in google chrome. Can make any event, speech, classroom lecture or church service accessible with real-time captioning. The screen can be adjusted to see both visual of the videocall and captioning. simultaneously. A higher volume adjustment may help ensure optimal captioning! https://webcaptioner.com/
Free captioning right in your browser
E. GOOGLE MEET: https://gsuite.google.com/
A more sophisticated process and provides captioning via automated captioning (i.e., not a live captioner). This requires someone with a paid Google account, also known as G-Suite, to set up the meeting and invite others who can attend free of charge.
F. GLIDE – VIDEO CHAT MESSENGER
Google Play App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.glidetalk.glideapp&hl=en_US
Apple Store: https://apps.apple.com/app/glide-live-video-messenger/id588199307
2. CAPTIONING/COMMUNICATION APPS (to assist with captioning translation!)
A. LIVE TRANSCRIBE (Free):
• Android Phone: https://www.android.com/accessibility/live-transcribe/
• Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.audio.hearing.visualization.accessibility.scribe&hl=en_US
A speech to text accessibility app from Google, produced in collaboration with Gallaudet University. Specifically designed for the Deaf and hard of hearing for real-time transcription of speech and sound to text on your screen and the option to type-back keyboard if wish to type only. Options include a blue circle which shows the level of ambient noise to determine distance from microphone for optimal performance and will vibrate if somebody starts speaking after a period of silence to inform you someone is speaking. It offers primary and secondary languages- supporting up to 70 different primary languages. Streaming options are also available.
B. SPEECHNOTES: – Speech to Text – Free with In-app Purchases: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.speechnotes.speechnotes&hl=en_US
Speechnotes user interface is designed to reduce distractions and inspire creativity by mostly just focusing on the words you are speaking being transformed into text with no login or registration is required.
C. BRAINA PC: Remote Voice Control – Free: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.brainasoft.braina&hl=en_US
The Braina app basically converts an Android into a microphone, from which you can control your desktop. Braina has both text to speech and speech to text functionalities, and both can be used in conjunction with PC apps like Microsoft Word.
D. iTRANSLATE: https://www.itranslate.com/
This is not a free app but it does offer a 7-day free trial. iTranslate translates voice to text and can convert from one language to another. In addition, it has a comprehensive phrasebook with most used sentences to help while traveling and allows you to modify or complete the suggested sentences to fit the situation in which you are trying to communicate. An article about iTranslate as a suggested read: “Stranger in a Foreign Land? Use These Android Voice Translator Apps to Translate Speech-to-Text Easily”.
E. EYEHEAR (eyeHear) Limited to iPhone and iPad only
This app uses Siri’s speech recognition to provide captioning to users. Press and hold the
iPhone screen to caption what you or others are saying in large, easy-to-read text.
Includes a keyboard interface to accommodate those without speech.
F. OTTER (Limited Free Option)
Otter is free up to 600 minutes/month and paid subscription options are available.
• iOS devices (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/otter-voice-notes/id1276437113)
• Android devices (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aisense.otter).
• Computers – You can also use it on a desktop computer by going to http://otter.ai
This app can transcribe speech-to-text and also record the conversation so you can go back listen and read past conversations. The default setting is with a white background with dark gray text but you can change the setting to black background with white text.
G. ASL TRANSLATOR – Small Fee
The ASL Translator is an app that features a text-to-sign generator and ASL phrases with 30,000 registered words as well the translated hand sign versions of those words. The smart translation algorithm of ASL Translator makes translated phrases be exactly what it means from its English phrase.
A voice recognition app with versions for both Android and Apple devices. The Android version has the advantage of being completely free to use with unlimited use of the service, while the Apple version requires payment for blocks of minutes.
I. AVA APP:
This is a speech to text app with some sophisticated features beyond what most other apps provide! Particularly in group conversations. The text of what the users say will display on the screens of everyone who is signed in along with their name. It is free up to a limited number of minutes each month. After that, fees apply. NOTE: Only the person “hosting” the conversation needs to pay – others can join free of charge.
J. TUNITY APP:
Even after getting hearing aids, it can still be difficult to hear all the dialogue on the TV. The Tunity app allows you to obtain audio from any live TV program streamed right to your phone. Simply use the app’s camera function to take a picture of the show and the audio will sync to your phone automatically. You may then listen through headphones or stream it directly to your hearing aids with smartphone-compatible models.
From All of Us at ALDA, Inc.
We hope you find the above information useful and fun as you pass the time staying safe. We look forward to seeing you this October at the annual ALDA Convention, ALDAcon2020, in Niagara Falls! In the interim, please join us through our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds. We look forward to hearing from you with comments or a story to share. Contact us through the ALDA website at: alda.org
Keep in touch and share.
Together, we will find our way through this trying time.
Feel free to join us October 21st through October 25th for