December 15, 2013


Communication Support Application 'KoeTra' Released for the Hearing-Impaired

Keywords: University / Research institute Well-Being 

KoeTra KoeTra
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The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) released in June 2013 its newly developed "KoeTra," a free application for smart phones and tablet terminals (now available for iOS), which supports better communication between the hearing-impaired and the non-hearing-impaired. Using speech recognition and synthesis technologies, KoeTra converts text into speech, and speech into Japanese text.

Prior to the release of KoeTra, the institute developed speech-to-speech translation software called "VoiceTra," which has been provided to the public free of charge since August 2010. The speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies used in VoiceTra were applied to KoeTra, a communication tool for the hearing-impaired. The mutual conversion between text and speech can expand the means of communication, which have been limited to sign language and writing messages. In addition, KoeTra users can save the time needed to enter text messages by registering fixed phrases, and can present information using pictures and maps.

NICT intends to further improve KoeTra so that it can provide minimal services off-line, even when the network is disrupted in times of disaster and emergency. The institute also plans to increase the operability and visibility of KoeTra on tablet terminals to allow the elderly to easily exchange information.