UNITED STATES—A new app is hitting the age of technology with the capability of following conversations in real time and captioning the words. Crafted by University of San Francisco and Berkley graduate students, the Transcence app utilizes the microphones in the smart phones of the people conversing to caption and assign each speaker a colored bubble. This lets the user know exactly who is speaking and distinguishes between the different contributors.
The app is currently priced at $360 for a year, though there are other optional packages to fit the user’s needs. Transcence is marketed, for now, to help Deaf people in a business setting feel less excluded while discussing information with their co-workers. The app is also intended for socializing with friends, but in important settings should not replace an interpreter, as the app relies on a microphone and voice-to-text processing and is still subject to some errors.
Thibault Duchemin, the CEO of the app, is a CODA with both of his parents who are Deaf as well as his sister. He explains in the company’s video that he wants his sister to have a chance at a normal life, without the use of hearing aids, which only amplify the sounds a person can already hear. Cochlear implants are also a toss-up when it comes to sound, since the surgery is not always successful, and the implants destroy any hearing ability, leaving the person without the option of hearing aids later on.
Transcence is an app that is meant to make communication more accessible.