Technology can be a good ally for people with some type of disability. Let users of the Hand Talk app, a real-time translator from Portuguese to Libras (Brazilian Sign Language), who was awarded the Google AI Impact Challenge initiative in 2019, say so.
The app is available free of charge for devices with Android and iOS systems. Who guides the conversation or the classes is the friendly virtual assistant Hugo. He is capable of interpreting audio and text messages in Portuguese in Libras.
Check out how to use and enjoy all the features offered by Hand Talk below. Also check out other apps developed to make life easier for people with some type of disability.
How to use Hand Talk, Libra translator
Libras is the sign language used by the deaf community in Brazil. According to the Libras.com.br website, different from what many people think, Libras is not Brazilian Portuguese represented in gestures, but a language of its own.
To learn new words and enrich your communication, follow the steps:
- Download Hand Talk on your Android or iOS device ;
- Open Hand Talk. You will be welcomed by the virtual assistant Hugo;
- It is possible to communicate with Hugo in two ways: by writing the content in the text field and sending in the arrow or by pressing the microphone icon and keeping it pressed while speaking;
- If this is your first time using the app, give permission for the program to record audios.
- If you want to learn the gestures better, access the side menu. If it is not showing, go to the three dots icon, located next to the text box;
- When touching the back arrow symbol, Hugo will repeat the last movement;
- On the two arrows to the right, the character repeats the movements at a faster pace (if pressed once) or slower (if pressed twice);
- In the star symbol, it is possible to evaluate the gesture, but for that, it is necessary to create an account on the service. If that’s what you want, go to Create account, which appears in the window that opens;
- It is possible to create a quick access with the Facebook or Gmail account or by entering email address and password. Choose the one you prefer;
- Back to the side menu, the square icon with an arrow allows you to create an animated GIF of the movement and share it through other apps, such as WhatsApp, e-mail, Drive, Instagram, among others.
Other Hand Talk functions
As we have already mentioned, the application offers other resources besides the translation from Portuguese to Libras. Note that at the top of the screen on the left there is an icon formed by three horizontal lines. Tap on it to access the other tools.
In History , all translations already made in the app are displayed. For that, it is necessary to have an account associated with the service.
The #HugoEnsina option features a series of video lessons hosted on YouTube. The lessons of the virtual assistant take place in the most different scenarios, such as restaurant, supermarket, camp, on the beach, among others. The goal is to enrich the students’ vocabulary.
The Dictionary item gathers words in alphabetical order separated by categories. They are: Portuguese, Mathematics, History, Geography and Science. When selecting one of them, the user is faced with a list related to the theme. Touch the one you want to learn and Hugo will teach.
More apps with a focus on accessibility
Technology can even be a great ally for people with disabilities, whether physical or intellectual. Increasingly, applications appear with the aim of making life easier for these people. Here are some great examples:
Be my eyes
The Be my eyes is a free app for Android and iOS facing visually impaired. The goal is for volunteer psychics to help virtually blind or low vision people, acting as their eyes.
When needed, the user requests assistance and the available volunteer responds, either by reading a menu, medicine leaflet, checking the validity of a product or describing a scenario or situation.
When using the app for the first time, you can choose which languages you can help with.
The Wheel Guide is a guide for people with limited mobility. The users themselves evaluate tourist spots and commercial establishments, creating an information network.
Locations can be considered accessible, partially accessible or not accessible.
According to the creators, the app already has reviews in more than 800 cities in 32 countries. When opening the program, it searches for places nearby. But it is also possible to search for points in different places in the world, using the search tool.
The Wheel Guide is available for Android and iOS devices .
See it is another app created to help people with visual impairments. Available only for Android , the program is able to identify and read text in images. That is, it recognizes labels, expiration dates, among other information.
To do this, simply open the app and point the rear camera at what you want to read. The app will interpret the content and say it out loud, similar to what we see in Google Translate.
The developers report that the software does not efficiently identify handwritten text or cursive fonts.
VLibras is a multiplatform translator from Portuguese to Libras. Developed by the Federal University of Paraíba, it is available for Android , iOS , Chrome , Firefox , Safari , as well as a program for Windows and Linux .
Its version for smartphones and PCs is similar to Hand Talk, in a simpler version. The translation is also done by a virtual assistant. The user can write the text or speak it and adjust the speed of the gestures easily.
When editing for browsers, a small window opens on the screen and the assistant translates textual content selected by the mouse.
If in addition to Libras, you are interested in learning other languages, check out our list of 6 translation apps for iPhone and Android. Also find out which are the best apps for learning and practicing English .