In February of this year, Google released Live Transcribe, an important accessibility feature for those who are deaf or have other hearing impairments. The feature automatically transcribes the spoken work on to a screen in real time and in a remarkably accurate manner in a choice of 70 different languages.

Recently Google announced that it was adding two new features to Live Transcribe — sound  events and the ability to save live transcriptions. ‘Sound events’ expands the accessibility feature of Live Transcribe by showing text for surrounding sounds, such as ‘dog is barking’ or ‘someone is knocking on your door’. Google says ‘sound events’ will also transcribe ringing phones, laughter, cars, or music. When one of those things happen, a little indicator will appear at the bottom of the screen.

The second new feature takes Live Transcribe out of the realm of accessibility and makes it useful for even people who are not deaf or hard of hearing. Google will allow users to save live transcriptions for up to three days. Google suggests it would be useful for “journalists capturing interviews or students taking lecture notes.” Those transcriptions are stored locally on the the phone.

Professional full-featured transcription services may offer more bells and whistles to provide a better experience, but in a pinch, and at no cost the ability to save soundbits from Google Live Transcribe should suffice.

Google also said that although Live Transcribe requires an internet connection to work, neither audio nor transcriptions are stored on its servers. The new sound event feature, however, works locally and does not require an internet connection.

Live Transcribe is available now for most Android phones. Once you have downloaded it, you turn it on in the Accessibility settings.


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