The audience gasp of astonishment was the sign I was hoping for.
It was on January 28, 2020, in the ballroom at the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Florida. I was speaking to 100 meeting professionals about how to accommodate people with disabilities at meetings and events.
As a part of my presentation, I scheduled my first demonstration of Wordly.AI. This is a software application using artificial intelligence that provides an instant translation of what a speaker is saying to each member of the audience. The text or audio appears on the audience member’s smartphones to help the audience know what the speaker said. The audience can choose from sixteen languages for the translation.
The audience excitement grew as they shared the screens of their smartphones with each other while I was talking. They experimented by selecting different languages to see the transcript on their screens. Smiling faces looked up at me as I heard people say, “Cool!” “This is amazing!” “Awesome!” Many wrote comments on the evaluation survey “Wordly excellent tool!”
Wordly supports inclusion. My presentation included a discussion on how to communicate with the deaf or hard of hearing. Wordly offers a solution. I have had people in my audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing and oftentimes a sign language interpreter is hired to be on stage with me to sign to those audience members. I have also had a person in the audience wear a headset to amplify my voice through a microphone clipped to my jacket.
By having my words on the audience member’s smartphone screens it reinforces learning. The transcript can be read again and helps in the retention of the information. People can better focus on the message and take fewer notes.
Wordly used in a presentation may eliminate the need to have multiple language translators in the back of an auditorium. During one of my presentations, I had twelve language translators in booths at the back of the room translating what I was saying to people wearing headsets in my audience. The meeting planners provided my script to the translators in advance while I used a teleprompter to deliver my presentation.
Times are changing for the better due to the advances in artificial intelligence software applications like Wordly.
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a powerful, internationally known speaker, trainer, author, consultant, and president of Rossetti Enterprises Inc. She speaks to and consults with meeting professionals to help them save time, reduce stress, and achieve success in planning more diverse and inclusive meetings and events.
Download her free resource 5 Meeting Planner Musts to Include People with Disabilities https://planforinclusion.com/
Having been paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury, she speaks from her wheelchair sharing her own dramatic personal story. She presents to audiences throughout the U.S. and beyond as a recognized expert on inclusive design. She has also earned recognition for her home, the Universal Design Living Laboratory that is the top-rated universal design home in North America. www.udll.com