Communication Technologies To Reduce Barriers

Photo of a man speaking through a tin can with a string

The past few years I’ve been looking for ways to better communication with my 94-year-old grandfather who has hard of hearing and onset of dementia. The way in which I am able to effectively communicate with him is by way of using technology. Here is a list of technology you can consider when communicating with a loved one, client or patient who may have hard of hearing or speak a different language.

Google Translate (Free)

Image describing Google Translate breaking down barriers with an example of the Google Translate mobile app

The mobile application that I use to communicate with my grandfather is Google Translate, which is available for free on the Apple and Android platforms. The reason why I chose this application is that I am able to translate English into Chinese quickly and the font size is large and easy to read. This makes for much easier communication between us as he is able to respond to my messages instead of having to write down, speak loudly or force him to do things that may make him uncomfortable.

Skype Translator (Free)

This is a desktop application that’s available for free on the Windows platform, the only downside to this is that it would require the person you are communicating with to also be in front of a desktop computer with the Skype Translator installed. However, the good part is that in real-time both individuals would be able to listen to the translations. Skype currently supports eight different languages; Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Portuguese Brazilian, Russian and Spanish.

Waverly Labs Pilot Translating Earpiece ($249.00 USD)

I’m most excited about several new hardware coming out this year including the Waverly Labs Pilot. It is able to translate languages in real-time as long as you have a mobile device. It will start with the support of six languages; French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English. And in this fall will introduce German, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Slavic and Chinese. Not only does this device look good it is compact and easy to travel with. The Waverly Labs Pilot is currently on pre-order for $249USD and will be made available this fall.

Bragi The Dash Pro (€349.00)

Another device similar to the Pilot is The Dash Pro. It also a sleek ear earpiece, the one upside to this is that it supports over 40 languages using the iTranslate app as its reference. Like the Pilot, The Dash Pro would allow for one person to speak and listen to the translation, whereas the other person would need to read what’s on the phone and speak to the app for the audio translation to take place. The other option is to have two sets so that both individuals would be able to listen to the translation in real-time.

Lingmo Translate One2One ($179.00 USD)

Photo of Lingmo Translate One2One Translation Earpiece

Lingmo Translate One2One was unveiled during the United Nations Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Good Summit and uses IBM Watson’s Natural Language Process and Language Translation APIs which pairs with Lingmo’s hardware. The great thing about this compared to the Waverly Labs Pilot and Bragi The Dash Pro is that this does not require a mobile device as it operates independently. It supports eight languages including Chinese, English and Spanish.


All these options would improve the effectiveness of how we communicate with each other regardless of ability or language. Which technology do you currently use to communicate effectively in your work or personal life? Share with us below!

I am passionate about people and focused on developing meaningful opportunities for people with accessibility needs through social entrepreneurial initiatives in journalism, consulting, and arts. As a TED talks junkie, I would love to hear your story and ideas. Reach out and connect with me!


1 Comment

  1. Technology made life easier nowadays. But in some workplace difficult to communicate easily mostly its industrial areas because of the noise level in different environments. I think to resolve this issue we need to use the right accessories and products (i.e. two-way radios, Specialty headset) to communicate our message without any hurdle.

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