Speech to Text-Do you know what that is?If you asked me that 5 years ago,I would have said, "Uh,no." Now, as a Teacher of Deaf/HH children, I can firmly say,"Yes!" I have experienced it at numerous conferences I attended and I have a student in my school using it. It is fascinating.
If you asked a teen, you would get a rousing,"Duh!Of course." Are they thinking of the same thing I am talking about?No, they are talking about..wait for it..SIRI. Sure, you know Siri..You talk to her, she answers back and puts info into print/text for you. You ask for directions, she types them or finds a map. You ask her to text your mom that you will be home soon,and she does. Fascinating.
I ,however, am talking about an assistive device that students and clients use to access auditory information.There are many companies who do this,but I am most familiar with C-Print. A captionist , someone who is trained and certified using this software, listens to the teacher/speaker and students/participants talking. She then types into a software computer program called C-print.She inputs words phonetically and has shortcuts preentered in her dictionary. For example, she might hear "courthouse",but only enter "crths". The student/client has another laptop that shows the text in perfect English. He would see "courthouse" on his screen. Cprint is more of a summary of information and close to word for word. Other programs are exact word for word systems. In essence, the theory is the same.
There is also Remote Captioning. This is where the captionist sits in a room far away from the presenter. The presenter has a microphone that captures sound 360 degrees and a receiver that plugs into the computer the student/client uses. The captionist then types into his computer far away and it transmits over the internet and shows up to the student/client's laptop.
Deaf and HH people miss information, regardless of their hearing level or hearing aid/cochlear implants. They don't hear and process information the same as a hearing person. Background noise and distance from the speaker makes it even harder to access information. Some people think captioning is a waste of money, cumbersome, time consuming or just silly . I think any technology that allows equal access to people with hearing loss is fascinating and very important.
Let me know your experience with Speech to Text services and your thoughts below.
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.