That was the first question our developer, Robin-Manuel, asked our digital service, EVE. Humans who speak to computers. Does it sound a little crazy? OK, so here’s the story. And it starts with a problem.
Tom came up with the idea of creating EVE on August 7, 2017. Once again, we flew stenographers to another country for our client, Microsoft, to transcribe what was being said on stage at an event. Why? The live subtitles help hearing-impaired people. And according to WHO, there are 466 million of them. But stenographers are always booked in pairs, because the speed at which they must transcribe is so strenuous, no one can do it for more than two hours at a time. Then there are the costs for flights, hotels, and dinner. And if there are multiple presentations scheduled at the same time, the expenses start to pile up. But at the same time, these subtitles are important. If you aren’t inclusive, you are exclusive. There’s no in between. That is why a solution had to be found.
After about 1.5 years, we are happy and proud to announce EVE’s début. Starting tomorrow, our digital service will be available on the market. EVE transcribes speech into text. And with the help of artificial intelligence, it’s fully automated. EVE currently supports 30 languages.
EVE makes events more inclusive! EVE makes even small events more accessible and easier to understand. Subtitles help not only hearing-impaired people, but also visitors who speak a different language. If you can read along, you will understand more. In the USA, they are a step ahead. Every show and every TV channel must provide subtitles. But even in these cases, manual typing is necessary. No more! During development we discovered a second vision. It took a while for us to realize just how big this “side effect” really is.
Today, we post each photo on Instagram and share each thought on Twitter. But where are all of the keynotes, lectures, events, and even church services? If I wasn’t there, I can’t read it anywhere later. Luckily, EVE creates a live transcript. Missed the flight to attend the keynote? Slept through the lecture? Presentation is being held in another country? No problem! Click and download. All of the amazing content is available digitally in an instant. For blog articles, for your intranet or to follow up on events. For those of you who are thinking, “Sounds a bit like the circle” – you have full control over your transcripts and downloads at all times.
EVE’s quality depends on the selected language, the speaker, the contents (technical jargon) and the sound quality. But we have received the same feedback for all of our tests: Wow! In German, EVE achieves on average over 90% error-free recognition and in English, noticeably more at 95%. So to improve the accuracy rate even more, it is also possible to use a proofreader as an intermediary any time. The proofreader receives small sections of text and can then approve them. Only then does the text appear. If the president is standing on stage, more proofreaders share the load, easily raising the accuracy rate to 100%. The biggest difference is that stenographers are highly specialised. But anyone who is nimble with the keyboard can make corrections with EVE.
EVE is like a website. Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop? Doesn’t matter! OS? Doesn’t matter! Browser? Doesn’t matter! Simply plug the mic into the laptop, access the website and press “record”. EVE displays live subtitles on the predefined website immediately. Font style, font size and colour can be selected, of course. Audience members can access the website themselves. At the same time, the event organiser can display the subtitles on an extra display or project them on the large stage. All conventional devices, operating systems and browsers can accommodate EVE. And by the way, EVE produces a live transcript. If someone clicks “Download” during the event, the most current version of the transcript is delivered as a PDF file.
Over the next few weeks, EVE will be able to recognize many new languages and by the end of the quarter, master the 10 most widely-spoken languages in the world. In addition, a translation function is planned. Is the lecture being held in Chinese and the audience cannot understand it? No problem! Simply switch the language in the output window and a live machine translation is available on the spot.