Bridging communications for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing with Google
Smartphones are key to helping all of us get through our days, from getting directions to translating a word. But for people with disabilities, phones have the potential to do even more to connect people to information and help them perform everyday tasks. Today on the premises of YMCA Kuala Lumpur, members of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community discovered how their smartphones can help them in their everyday life.
In conjunction with the 2019 International Deaf Day event hosted by YMCA Kuala Lumpur and Pusat Majudiri Y, the community members were introduced to two accessibility apps – Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier – that were released earlier this year.
At the Accessibility Google Cafe presentation by Nadia Khan, Communications Manager for Consumer Products at Google Malaysia, attendees were given an overview and a live demo of the two apps. This was then followed by a tour of an interactive installment called the ‘Journey into the Deaf World’, which simulates the world of a deaf person for their attendees.
The first booth was dedicated to Live Transcribe, which helps bridge the connection between deaf people and the hearing via real-time, real-world transcriptions for everyday conversations. The attendees discovered the ability to be an active part of conversations in multiple languages, to understand sound events happening around them such as a dog barking or music playing and the convenience of being able to respond via the built-in keyboard. Live Transcribe currently supports over 70 languages including Bahasa Melayu.
The next booth had attendees try out Sound Amplifier, which helps people who have hearing loss hear more clearly. With a few simple controls, people can customise frequencies to amplify important sounds like the voices of the people you are with while filtering out background noise, making carrying conversations in loud environments a lot more enjoyable and inclusive.
“As people who can hear, we sometimes forget how frustrating it is to not be able to understand what goes on around us, so it’s great to see apps like Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier helping to make learning and communication easier for the deaf and hard of hearing. Imagine the difference it can make for the community and their families if these apps are used in schools or universities, for work or simply for getting around,” said Morley Ng of YMCA KL.
“Today’s event was a very humbling experience and a reminder that not everyone accesses information in the same way. At Google, we believe technology has the potential to directly help people in their everyday lives and our aim is to help people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing communicate more easily. Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier give people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing greater independence in their everyday interactions and allows them to actively participate in conversations with their friends and loved ones,” said Nadia
Related article : Google’s Accessibility Apps