Global Accessibility Awareness Day, observed on the third Thursday of every May, aims to promote awareness and dialogue about digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities. One recent initiative, a new accessibility app from Google, focuses on making communication easier for people with hearing impairment.
Live Transcribe, an accessibility service, has been designed by Google in partnership with Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, a premier school for the hearing-impaired. The app captures speech through a phone’s microphone and converts it into text, which is displayed on the screen in real time for the other person to read. Live Transcribe uses Google’s state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition technology.
If you have a Pixel 3, you can simply switch on Live Transcribe from your accessibility settings. For other Android devices (Android 5.0—Lollipop and older), users will have to download the app from the Google Play store. After installing the app, you need to turn on Live Transcribe on your phone’s Accessibility settings. You can also tap on the app to use it or tap the “Accessibility” button that appears at the bottom of the screen to use Live Transcribe.
The app supports real-time transcription in more than 70 languages and dialects. Users can choose and switch between a primary and an optional secondary language as well. One can also reply by typing the responses within the app.
Live Transcribe’s ability to recognize speech and convert it into text is remarkable. Perhaps the only drawback is that your Android phone needs to be connected to the internet to use this service.
There are additional settings to customize text size, the app’s theme, and mask any use of profanity. By using speech recognition technology, the app can also pick up important nuances—you will notice the transcription adjust and correct itself as a conversation happens.
As of now, Google has opted for a limited release for the app, but users can provide feedback since the app is still in the development phase.
Live Transcribe is available on the Google Play store.