Communicating using Translating services

Hello Everyone

Action on Hearing Loss is continuously looking to improve access to services for people with hearing Loss. With the growth of internet services and apps in particular, communication has changed vastly. Some of these apps have been beneficial for people with hearing loss however some apps are designed without any consideration towards the hard of hearing population.
We would therefore like to find out what apps people are using, which apps have been helpful and which apps need improvement. Currently we are focusing on apps which help people with hearing loss and deafness and below are some apps we consider the most useful. We would appreciate feedback on ways any of these apps can be improved as well as information on apps people are using that may help others that have not been identified below.

Communicating using Translating services
Translating services are a great way of communicating between different language users. However it is important to remember that they are not always 100% accurate. The accuracy is greatly dependant on the quality of the input signal and the internet connection. So if you are using speech as an input signal to translate into text, you need to try having a clear speech signal with no or very little background noise. Personal or business Wi-Fi connections tend to provide a better signal than public Wi-Fi and 3G connections. These apps can help you when attending social events, appointments, when abroad on holiday and also at work. Most translating apps are designed to translate speech or text into different languages and very few translate spoken English into English text. It is important to find out about this depending on what you are using the app for before purchasing if there is a charge for the app.

  • VoxSci: This is a free voicemail-to-text app created by the voice recognition technology company VoxSciences. This voicemail service replaces your normal speech voicemail service from your service provider to a text voicemail service. You can save your messages and allows you to respond by text, email or a voice call directly from the app. It does all the things traditional voicemail systems do as well as leave yourself voice memos.
  • Hi Lynne

    Thank you for the feedback on your experience with this app.

    Depending on what device you are using and what internet connection you have, the reliability can vary. Most smart phone and tablet devices allow you to use Google translate on Wifi and 3/4G but you may have to change the settings on your device to allow this. Translating services work best on Wifi so some devices default to this setting as well as to save your internet data.

    All the best
  • Rachel (Information Officer) said:

    Google Translate: This app allows the user to translate speech or text into different languages as text. Currently there are 90 languages available on the app but not BSL. You can also use pictures of texts to translate into a chosen language but the picture quality needs to be good in order to obtain accurate translations. Translations can only be done when connected to the internet; however, you can save previously converted speech and text to use offline. This app is currently free and available on Android, iOS and Windows.

    I have used google translate on a few occasions to try and speak to a friend in Germany it like most apps tried hard but failed. As my. Friend said who fortunately speaks good English ....your phone speaks bad German
    Other drawback is you can only use it via wifi connection

  • SpeechTrans ultimate assistant and travel companion: Available to download free on Android, iOS and windows. Advanced real time speech to speech translation allows you to instantly translate text, speech and live calls into more than 44 languages. Powered by Nuance, SpeechTrans has a 98% accuracy rate. The app has video call with or without translation, currency converter, flight tracker, speech to speech translation available in 44 languages, translation through social networks (including GTalk, Facebook Messenger, Yahoo and others), translates images, including menus and documents, dictation of your email and notes, dictation and translation history are stored in the cloud for playback, pairs with SpeechTrans Wearable Wristband to dictate into your watch, translate photos (take picture on app), unlimited international phone call capability with or without automated translation can be used with added InterprePhone subscription.

  • Clear Captions: Speech to text in real time for phone calls. Free on Android and iOS. ClearCaptions adds free captions to your phone calls, displaying them on your phone and tablet. When you use ClearCaptions with your calls, it’s similar to turning on closed captions for your TV shows; you hear and read what’s being said.