Removing Barriers to Engagement

Wordly COO Kirk Hendrickson explains how AI-driven simultaneous interpretation can vastly improve audience engagement by expanding inclusivity and enhancing participation.

Mike Fletcher, April 7, 2021

Wordly founder, Lakshman Rathnam didn’t set-out to develop a translation application. Prior to 2017, he was working for a hearing aid company developing solutions for the very hard of hearing and deaf community who weren’t being served by existing audible aids.

It was only while traveling overseas did Rathnam realise that his inability to communicate with someone in another language made him metaphorically deaf, and that his work to develop AI-driven solutions for the hearing impaired could also be used to bridge the language divide.

According to Chief Operating Officer, Kirk Hendrickson, the application still has an active hearing support user-base but today, Wordly is much better known for providing language translation on demand.

More accurately, it can deliver real-time translation with both audio and text in up to 19 languages, including Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

“Our mission is to revolutionise simultaneous interpretation through the use of AI for translation,” Kirk tells Glisser. “As our data sets grow, we’re steadily adding more languages but for us, it’s all about accuracy. It has to be accurate translation with high levels of conceptual correctness so that concepts are understood even when there’s mitigating variables such as background noise or rapid speech.

“Listening to a conference speaker isn’t always the most effective way to retain the information being presented,” Kirk continues. “Being able to read what is being said, in your own language, is often a more focused and immersive experience. The transcript can be read again and helps in the retention of the information. People can better focus on the message and take fewer notes.”

Imagine how excited we at Glisser got when we first understood the potential for simultaneous interpretation and how it could vastly improve audience engagement both online and during in-person events by expanding inclusivity and enhancing participation.

In May last year, Wordly and Glisser announced the availability of a seamless integration between our platform and the translation application. Since then, we’ve been able to support our multinational customer base translate their speaker's presentations in mainly virtual event environments.

With the return of in-person live event activity now firmly on the horizon however, Wordly’s ability to remove language barriers will allow planners even greater flexibility for hybrid event solutions, since there’s no need for multiple in-room translators or on-stage sign language interpreters.

“By way of an example, there were twelve expensive language translators in booths at the back of the room translating what one speaker was saying to people wearing headsets in the audience,” Kirk recalls. “The meeting planner provided her script to the translators in advance while she used a teleprompter to deliver her presentation. Times are changing for the better due to the advances in AI software applications like Wordly.”

These changing times, and developments in AI in particular, have been accelerated by the global coronavirus crisis. When speaking with Wordly’s COO, we wondered out loud what other event technology solutions could be achieved by an evolved AI for the future benefit of live, virtual and hybrid communication.

“I think we’ll see AI’s impact on support-based chat bots and content management happen quickly now,” Kirk offers. “It will have a huge impact on content searches and summarization as the focus on content engagement becomes more prevalent. What these technologies will look like and what they will actually do? I don’t know but having now worked on the front-line of AI development, I’m certainly looking forward to finding out.”

The specialty integration of the Wordly translation feature into Glisser comes as a license that can be purchased per event or per annum. Contact Glisser for more information or schedule a discovery call.

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