Buddy Translator- Research Proposal

            For my social justice project, I have come up with an app that will hopefully include more people in conversations. The app is focused on people who are plagued with hearing impairments. The app will allow people who are hard of hearing, or cannot hear at all. The job of the app is to translate incoming dialogue from incoming sources on a mobile phone. I imagined that a person who is hearing impaired has critical issues that hinder them from calling up another person. My app will help to improve the situation by taking and translating the incoming dialogue into a text form for the person who is hearing impaired. The words that come in will pop up in text form for them. It will have the visual similarity of a teleprompter. The words scroll in and are in a linear form that is readable for the impaired communicator. To work the app, a person who is using the app will make a call by connecting to a phone contact by way of the application. As the call is connected, the person holds their phone in front of them and speaks as they normally would. The incoming reply is deciphered by the application and their dialogue is translated into text form. The text moves along automatically as they speak.


This application caters to those who have a difficult time understanding what is being said by the person on the other end of the phone connection. Initially I thought that the group I could focus on would be limited to only those who have extremely limited hearing abilities, however further thought on the subject changed that idea. Even people who only have slight hearing impairments can benefit from the app. Also, those who are in loud areas (restaurants, subway tunnels, crowds, etc.) can use the app to eliminate having to strain their ears for the incoming words. The app is also not limited to conversations. If the app is opened while a hearing impaired person is simply sitting in a mall or restaurant, the surrounding conversations can be captured and translated. This feature can aid those who are hard of hearing in being more aware of their surroundings. Just think of the ill-natured people who may wish to harm someone who they sense is vulnerable. That could include prejudiced people, robbers, or anyone with wrong intentions that is surrounding the impaired person.

This connects to my observations during my field research in a couple of ways. I remember seeing people encounter problems with their cameras, but there were also people who would try and catch a signal by the beach. They would move away from noisy areas of the beach to get a clearer sound from the other person. Recently, I began thinking about those who are not included in the basics of cell phone usage. I began thinking of those who are hearing impaired and thought of a way to get them involved in the conversation. This led to me think about how this app could also be used as a sort of defense tool, hence my idea for the “eavesdropping” type of feature.


(June 16, 2011 ). SPEECHTRANS; SpeechTrans Offers Mobile Translation App for Hearing Impaired. Computer Weekly News, Retrieved from www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic


DeNisco, A. (2014, March). Creating apps for the hearing impaired. District Administration, 50(3), 26. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.libproxy.temple.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA361711329&v=2.1&u=temple_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=a02bb05488e738c90e9c686cf3ac7fd0

Elmar W.M. Fürst, Christian Vogelauer, (2012) “Mobility of the sight and hearing impaired: barriers and solutions identified”, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 15 Iss: 4, pp.369 – 384 Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com.libproxy.temple.edu/journals.htm?articleid=17051024



As I described earlier, the app will incorporate a layout that is similar to a teleprompter. The words scroll in as the person is talking. The incoming dialogue should be paced slowly so that there is a smaller chance of words being jumbled together. Slower dialogue will also allow for the hearing impaired person to read along with the words on the screen. The app connects to the contact list that is within the phone, or this option can be altered. If a person does not want to connect all of their contacts, they can dial in numbers and create a personalized list of phone numbers within the app. This will serve as a separate phone book. The app is designed with a menu that allows the user to select the tool that they wish to use. They can make a call or “eavesdrop”.



3/28 – Outline and smooth over the details of the tools I wish to create within the app

3/31- Finalize a meeting with Kristina DeVoe

4/11- Research app designs. Continue to research mobile glitches for those with hearing impairments.

4/25- Conclude designing and research components. Finalize the rough drafting and put together the complete ideas.


3 thoughts on “Buddy Translator- Research Proposal”

  1. This sounds like a great idea. It would be important to look into any other apps that have a similar function (assuming there are any). If there are apps like this already, how might you improve upon them? Also what other types of existing technologies does it build upon. I also recommend drawing on the material from the course where we read and discussed the historical relationship between the deaf community in particular and telephonic and mobile communication.

    For your visual design, be sure to think about how you are going to create the visual design component you need to the course blog. How will you show your audience what your app does in a visual format?

  2. I like your idea and it’s definitely realistic. I can’t think of it off the top of my head, but I’m pretty sure there is technology out there already that converts voice to text. Back in either the history or accessibility week, I recall reading an article where there was a middle man that would manually convert text into voice and then voice into text. For your visual component, it’s going to be tough to demonstrate how your app works. My suggestion is to make a video demonstrating a scenario in which your app works. It shouldn’t be too hard; it will take a few clever edits and cuts, but I’m sure you can do it. However, this is not necessary with the assignment but what will make this app more beneficial than just texting? If voice is being converted to text and the user is reading text, then why not just text the message to begin with? Just a few questions that might improve your project or further along your research.

  3. Hey Amber! Great start to your project. I really like your idea behind this application. One suggestion is to make sure you research other different types of applications that have the same closer or similar concept to what you want to do with your application. You could probably go back to the readings from week two, I believe, there are a lot of great insights about applications that turn voice into text. I know you do great voice overs, so maybe you should try to make voice overs and somehow incorporate it into a video or photo that shows how yo u can do it. Who will be your target audience? Price? Anyway, great start and I know with some research and creativity when it comes to making a visual for your final step you will do great! Good luck and let me know if I can be of help in any way.

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