Hi everyone! For those who may not know me, my name is Michelle Stevens. I am the Policy and Grants Officer for DBV. Each month I hope to write an article on adaptive technology and answer your questions. I have used adaptive technology for many years. On my computer I use JAWS screen reader for Windows and a Focus 40 braille display. I also use an iPhone with a Focus 14 braille display.
Speech to text (STT) software is a computer program that converts words that are spoken aloud to text. SST is also known as dictation, or speech recognition. STT lets someone speak into your phone and shows their words as text. You can read the text as large print or braille.
It is easy to set up. One of the things I really like is that you can braille or type your response back to the shop keeper, or ask questions just like a conversation. You can save the conversation for later, which is a great way to take notes.
It is not possible to always have a commguide or interpreter with you. I have used STT on my phone in some short appointments. It does not replace an interpreter but can get you out of tricky situations.
Health advice during the Covid-19 pandemic includes keeping physical distance from others. This can be challenging for Deafblind people who rely on touch for communication. Some DBV members have been exploring if the popular Zoom videoconferencing service can offer anything to Deafblind people.
Although Zoom is mainly for live video and audio, it also supports live text chat, which can be accessed on a braille display. A live captioning service can be paired with Zoom, so words spoken in a meeting can also appear as text. Note that live captions require fast braille reading – the average speed of spoken English is about 150 words per minute. However, if a meeting is moderated well, we found it to be a good option for some.
DBV’s Michelle Stevens has drafted a document for braille users who want to try Zoom – click here to download it. Please get in touch with DBV to give feedback, or to discuss details about how we used Zoom, live captions and braille.