Overcoming Communication Barriers with Technology
One of the UK's oldest manned guarding providers is piloting speech-to-text and machine translation to overcome obstacles to communication caused by face masks and language.
Officers from Corps Security which was founded in 1859 are being provided with access to an automatic audio-to text transcription and text translation app that also operates offline for use with visitors to retail sites in Birmingham, Cheltenham and Exeter.
The transcription service is also being used to overcome communication difficulties caused by wearing a face mask as individuals with hearing impairments can struggle to understand a security officer wearing a mask which will often obscure facial expressions and lip reading. The technology ensures security officers can effectively deliver critical safety information about Covid-19 and associated social distancing measures, and ensure the information is fully understood. It also ensures staff, clients and members of the public have a tool to help them raise any concerns and ask questions when a face mask can potentially hinder their own verbal communication.
When language barriers arise, the verbal conversation translation function offers an automatic translation of two-way dialogue as each person speaks, so there’s no need to take turns operating a translation tool. The written text translation service offers an alternative stream of communication.
This new speech-to-text and translation technology pilot scheme is being monitored by Neil Shanks, the company's National Account Manager, who says: "Language barriers present security officers with challenges and now we also have the added barrier of face masks which hinder communication. This technology integration could be a key differentiator in ensuring Covid-secure safety information is understood and adhered to, and in determining positive outcomes of stressful situations such as a missing child or preventing a suicide attempt."
Mike Bullock, CEO, adds: "Integrating this transcription and translation functionality means our officers are in a stronger position to support our customers and members of the public, and it helps us improve the quality of our service. We can ensure important safety information is conveyed at a time where communicating health and safety measures is absolutely paramount."