As a DeafBlind person I often find it frustrating getting info and facts from people who cannot sign.
While it is true that writing is the most accessible format, I still find it very difficult to read most writing!
And it doesn’t help that some people just don’t understand that a white cane means vision loss; so stop writing super small with a pencil on a paper bag in a scrall that would make a doctor proud or confused! I have given people my own Sharpie, only to have that ignored.
Plus, some situations are awkward, with a line of people behind me (they are not doing the conga line dance!), or the person I am trying to retrieve information from is super impatient! Ugh!
And so, technology is giving us the opportunity to get quicker responses. I have given my phone to pharmacists and baristas, letting them text replies to my pre-made requests.
But, I could go a step further! During the early summer I tried voice-to-text technology on my phone and was wowed by its accessibility!
Here is what happened! Previously I had a voice-to-text app (I almost said program, hello old-timer!) on my phone, but seldom found a use for it.
So one day, I was at Tim Hortons with a Timcard, I did not know how much money I had available on the card.
I wanted a coffee and some donuts. I tried to pay with my Timcard, yet it was not being accepted! If you have experience with Timcard readers, you ought to know that the readout is very small and very quick. So, I couldn’t hear the Tim Worker, and I couldn’t see the Tim Reader, I was ready to storm out of the store, sans coffee, when I remembered the Voice-to-text app! I quickly found it, and let the guy see it, he spoke eloquently, informing me that I was short 88 cents! How convenient! I whipped out a loonie I had and slide it across the counter!
That was awesome! Saved me a lot of confusing and frustrations… And I had my coffee!
Since then, I usually use this for family dinners, and occassionally a doctor’s appointment. And, once, I used it when my wife was talking to our landlord, and found out that he was unaware that I was unemployed!
Recently I used it when my son had a dental appointment. This was rather cool and unexpected! My boy was have issues with a molar that had to come out. My wife, myself and my other son ganged up on him one night but the tooth refused to come out.
Here, at the dental chair, I set the Live Translate app on, showed the dentist, who was impressed. She asked “Should we wiggle the tooth out?” I confirmed yes! Her reply was “Great that we have daddy on board!” Ten minutes, and lot of dollars, later, the molar was out! We were on the way! But a pitstop in the accounts receivable desk! The desk jockey there was informed of my app, and she continued the talking.
The downside is: I still needed to write my responses out! As my voice is non-understandable, especially to everyone!
The app is called Live Translate, for android. And it is created by Google with support from Gallaudet University!
Have a nice sunday!