Hand Talk is a Google AI Impact Challenge grantee that built a live translation app that can translate text and audio to sign language.
Using Al or Artificial Intelligence, Hand Talk can now translate English to ASL or American Sign Language. Launched back in 2019, the app was only able to translate Portuguese to Brazilian Sign Language. Above all, this app aims to bridge the gap between the Deaf and the hearing community.
How Hand Talk Translates to Sign Languages
The Hand Talk app is like a pocket translator that translates oral (both written or audio) languages to sign language. App users can even use the app to review signs or learn sign language for the first time. In other words, all this is made easy with the help of an AI-powered virtual 3D avatar named Hugo.
The app is available for use on smartphones and tablets, both on the Play Store, as well as Apple’s App Store. Users have options to customize various functionalities as per the experience they desire. In other words, they can adjust Hugo’s speed, repeat translations, share GIFs of translations, and customize the avatar itself. Therefore, these customizations deliver a very personalized experience, allowing for changing the avatar’s looks and clothing.
Technology and Innovation
Behind this innovation is a group of American Sign Language specialists, along with the use of technology like AI. They record translations of various sentences and tag videos of signs to build increasingly advanced vocabulary. These help as an input for the Artificial Intelligence system to work and improve upon, helping it to perform better and more efficiently. The Hand Talk app had launched way back, supporting Portuguese/Libras, and garnering millions of users since then. With the launch of its support from English to ASL, we expect it to gain many more users now. Moreover, it was also recently featured in Google’s Twitter post as well!
Global Impact of Hand Talk
According to WHO (World Health Organization), there are close to 466 million Deaf people around the world, with 80% of them being unable to understand the written or spoken language of their respective countries. In conclusion, the Hand Talk app is a great accessibility feature and can work towards the inclusion of this community.