How Google Live Transcribe and Amplifier Work

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This page was translated using AI and machine learning.

(Pocket-lint) – When you’re deaf or hard of hearing, technology can be difficult.

In 30+ years, there will be 900 million people with hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. And it’s quite amazing to see the needs of so much of the population ignored. It’s not easy to understand people who mumble on the phone, for example, and videos without subtitles are the worst. Fortunately, Google stepped in.

It offers two Android features (and apps) for the deaf and hard of hearing called Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier.

What is Google Instant Transcript?

Google’s Dimitri Kanevsky, a deaf researcher with 30 years of experience in voice recognition and communication technologies, once created a service called CART. This is where a captionist virtually joins a meeting to listen and create a transcript of spoken dialogue that displays on a computer screen. Kanevsky’s teammate Chet Gnegy remarked that CART meant having to use multiple devices, and was mostly only good for use in meetings. CART was therefore not ideal for everyday conversations.

So Gnegy and Google set out to create a better tool for Kanevsky.

They wanted to use cloud-based automatic speech recognition that could display spoken words on a screen. The result is Live Transcribe, an app for Android. It takes the spoken word and turns it into real-time subtitles using just your phone’s mic. Live Transcribe is available in more than 70 languages ​​and dialects and enables two-way conversation via a typing keyboard for users who can’t or won’t speak, according to Google. The app also works with external mics to improve transcription accuracy.

googleGoogle picture 2

To start

Live Transcribe is already installed on Pixel phones and some other Android phones. If you don’t have it, download it from Play Store.

To enable Instant Transcription, follow these steps:

  1. You must first enable it for it to work in your device’s Accessibility Settings menu.
    • Open your device’s Settings app.
    • Tap Accessibility, then tap Live Transcribe.
    • Tap Open Live Transcription.
    • To accept permissions, tap OK.
    • Optional: Edit your Live Transcribe shortcut.
  2. Now you can start a live transcription from the accessibility button on the navigation bar.
    • To start Live Transcribe, use your Live Transcribe shortcut (swipe up with two fingers or tap the Accessibility button).
    • Make sure you are connected to the internet.
    • Hold your device’s microphone close to the person or sound you want to capture.

Need help? See Google’s support page for more details. Google also has a Live Transcribe web page here.

Availablity

In 2019, Live Transcribe began rolling out in limited beta to users worldwide via the Play Store and pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices. It’s now widely (and automatically) available for Pixel 3 and newer devices, as well as for some Android devices running version 5.0 and later.

What is Google Sound Amplifier?

Google offers another accessibility app called Sound Amplifier. The idea is that anyone could use an audio boost, especially when there’s a lot of background noise like in an airport. Sound Amplifier, first announced at I/O 2019, works on Android smartphones with wired headphones. It can filter, augment and amplify sounds in your surroundings, according to Google.

googleGoogle picture 3

To start

Live Transcribe is already installed on Pixel phones and some other Android phones. If you don’t have it, download it from Play Store.

To enable Instant Transcription, follow these steps:

  1. To use Sound Amplifier, first connect a pair of wired or Bluetooth headphones to your device.
  2. To customize sound and noise reduction, go to the Sound Amplifier settings menu.
    • Open your device’s Settings app.
    • Tap Accessibility, then tap Sound Booster.
    • Tap Open Sound Amplifier.
    • To accept permissions, tap OK.
    • Optional: Edit your Sound Amplifier shortcut. Learn more about accessibility shortcuts
  3. To start Sound Amplifier, use your Sound Amplifier shortcut (swipe up with two fingers or tap the Accessibility button).
    • Move the sliders and toggle until you are satisfied with the sound quality.

Need help? See Google’s support page for more details. Google also has a blog post about Sound Amplifier here.

Availablity

Sound Amplifier was launched on Play Store in 2019. It supports Android devices and comes pre-installed on Pixel 3 and newer phones.

Written by Maggie Tillman.

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