Imagine you’re on a college campus and have a job interview in 5 minutes. You’re a bit lost, so you stop to ask the next person you see for directions. You realize that the person you’ve asked is hard-of-hearing, and he opens his backpack for a pen and paper. By the time he’s explained in writing where your next class is, you’re 10 minutes late.
Now, imagine you walk up to the same person, but now they have the Microsoft Translator app installed on their phone – displaying your spoken words in text, and giving him the ability to type his response.
This is exactly what’s happening on-campus at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT): Students and faculty are promoting the use of Microsoft Translator to break communication barriers on campus, in and outside of the classroom.
RIT has pioneered the use of Microsoft Translator in the classroom, and recently created a “Microsoft Translator for RIT” webpage explaining the benefits of the app as a “companion tool”. To illustrate how the app can be used on campus, RIT created a few videos of scenarios where the Microsoft Translator app can be of benefit to the student population.
“Once I knew about Microsoft Translator, I realized I can use that back at home, during family dinners, and then I also can use it for study groups with my friends. In the future, I can also use it for my job. Because communication is very important for all of us and we just want to be together, and not feel left out.” – Amanda Bui, Mobile Applications Development major, National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Microsoft Translator has partnered with RIT’s Center for Access Technology on the Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) Project – the transcription of spoken language to readable text using AI-based technology.
Speech customization using Azure’s Custom Speech Service is a huge part of the project – giving teachers access to custom speech models that recognize specific terminology, such as scientific terms and place names.
“The custom speech recognition is critical for capturing vocabulary words that wouldn’t be necessarily conventional in everyday life. For example, the terminology that you would see in a biology class. We were able to feed key words into the classroom models.” – Brian Trager, Associate Director, RIT’s National Technical institute for the Deaf
To learn how you can use Microsoft Translator for Education, visit our Education page.