Ava being used on a smartphone
The Ava threaded speech-to-text application gives people with hearing disability an easy way to stay engaged in conversation with a group of friends, colleagues or family.
The app, formerly known as Transcence, starts with each participant in a conversation downloading the app and setting up a profile. It’s designed to be for much more than a casual chat, so it’s worth taking the time to set things up because then conversations can flow well from that point onwards, regardless of each person’s specific hearing abilities.
The new Version 1.1.2 released in May 2017 adds Chinese Mandarin characters and Spanish to the pre-existing line-up of English, Dutch, and French. Plus they have added more customisable settings to add commonly used words and people’s names, and you can now also save transcripts of your conversations as text files for later sharing or referencing.
Voice transcription is certainly not 100% accurate by any means, and this is a paid app, yet Ava does seem to be a big leap forward in fostering inclusive communication. "The team of Deaf and hearing folks at Ava are challenging the status-quo in accessibility, mobile and speech technologies,” the recent start-up says on their website. “Ava allows you to connect quickly one or multiple friends, next to you or anywhere in the world,” they say, and claim that upwards of 90% accuracy is possible on their newly updated app if custom inputs are made.
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