Gallaudet University launched a partnership to provide more accessible videoconferencing for the deaf and hard of hearing community - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 2, 2020 7:57 am

Gallaudet University launched a partnership to provide more accessible videoconferencing for the deaf and hard of hearing community

The university is partnering with McLean, Virginia-based speech tech provider AppTek to develop a transcription and captioning application designed to work across various web browsers and videoconferencing platforms.
Gallaudet University views.

Gallaudet University views.

(Photo by Flickr user Joseph, used under a Creative Commons license)

Gallaudet University is partnering with McLean, Virginia-based speech tech provider AppTek to develop an application that’s designed to enable a better videoconferencing experience for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The D.C. university is a higher education institution focused on the advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language (ASL) and English programs. AppTek is a software provider that specializes in human language technology.

AppTek will develop the transcription and captioning application alongside Gallaudet’s Technology Access Program (TAP) and its School of Science, Technology, Accessibility, Mathematics, and Public Health (STAMP). It will bring AppTek’s automatic speech recognition technology into a customizable platform. Dr. Christian Vogler and Dr. Raja Kushalnagar, project leaders from the university, will work with AppTek on developing the app, which will be designed to work across various web browsers and videoconferencing platforms.

“Deaf and hard of hearing people need to have control over their access options,” said Vogler, director at TAP, in a press release. “This partnership is all about giving us that kind of control, and we are excited to make it happen.”

The app will provide users with live closed captions during videoconferences and other features that will allow users to customize “the readability of real-time conversation transcripts.” Gallaudet and AppTek will lean on the community to design more features to address these unique needs.

“We are passionate about and humbled at the opportunity to collaborate with Gallaudet on bridging that gap by developing new tools to give the deaf community greater freedom, control, and access to virtual communication,” AppTek CRO Mike Veronis said in a statement.

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