Sue Reager is an inventor and president of Translate Your World. Reager is an industry expert in speech technology, and her previous inventions are licensed by Cisco Systems, Intel, and global communication companies. Reager was recently honored with 2nd place in the Game-Changers and Invaders competition by TAUS, the leading organization for language and translation technologies. Her newest software, called “Tywi”, is the first all-encompassing speech translation system that translates what people say in real-time as they speak into dozens of languages as both subtitles and computer voice. The software is used for for customers service, education, conferences, and business communication.
How did you get into the industry?
Now I speak 10 languages (and code in 4 computer languages), but for 20 years, I worked in major media (film, television, recording) in 17 countries. In every city, I would arrive alone, and be expected to participate in business meetings held in other native tongues. For 20 years, I studied language every night and weekends. I remained swamped with grammar and vocabulary study, while friends went out to dinner and on weekend getaways. After 20 years, I was offered a job in Korea - to start all over again. I drew the proverbial line in the sand, stopped traveling, and shifted my focus to speech technology, determined to find a solution that enables people to conduct business around the world without speaking another language. The result is Tywi, the first fully developed across-language communication software.
Emerging industry trends?
Voice translation is the hottest communication revolution of this decade for business and education. Speech technology has come into its own: one software understands what you say, and types your words as text. Another software translates that text into another language. Finally, a third software turns the translated text into a synthesized computer voice. This combined process is called “voice translation” (aka “speech translation”), and will change the lives of millions of people around the world. Brilliant companies are producing 99% accuracy in transcription, translation, and pronunciation – far beyond our past experience. Each is really successful only in specific languages, although may offer many. However, when combined together, the overall technological quality across major languages is high enough to do business, translate documents, and converse with people of other tongues. These brilliant companies are not necessarily the companies that the world knows, rather many have low profiles with undiscovered world-class innovations. Additional inventions such as the Tywi Context Engine and Artificial Intelligence increase the personalization and localization of language technology sufficient to enable business, conferences, and customer support.
Industry opportunities or challenges?
Universities are beginning to go global, some in up to 90 languages, while changing the classroom composition from 20 students in a room, to 500 or 1000+ online for one class. For the first time, students in other countries begin to comprehend translated lectures through voice translation, while digital books and tests can now be automatically translated with good accuracy into many languages using translation applications appropriate for that particular subject and language. In the corporate world, streaming meetings and internet video produce hundreds of thousands of hours of content previously only available in one language --- because real-time translation has been cost prohibitive (e.g. $2,500 per hour). Finally, captions can be instantly auto-translated as subtitles in dozens of languages, making the content accessible to global audiences, and even narration is replaceable by attractive computer voices.
What is next for this technology in future?
The newest and most powerful catalyst for a revolution in global business is the ability for one agent to provide customer service and/or tech support in 78 languages. From time immemorial, the language barrier has been the major inhibitor to corporate expansion. After all, why sell around the world if you cannot service or support? 2018 changes this projection by empowering any entrepreneur or company to sell and service customers worldwide. Even the definition of “Customer Service Software” is changing. It no longer means a simple white chat box or a telephone “For service, press 1”, but now means a complete easy-to-use, easy-to-install web app that translates voice conversation, translates chat, and uses multimedia, images, and video – all to give the agent the ability to sell, upsell, and appease any customer with crystal clarity, while supporting people who are deaf, blind, and deaf-blind.
The new ideal in customer experience?
Today, everyone can be served. This new customer experience will affect hospitals, 911 operators, schools, convention centers, hotels, and potentially every company in the world. In a hospital, for example, customer service starts at the door, welcoming patients and their families in their own language, and empowering nurses to converse with patients. 911 operators elicit the basic information in any language sufficient to take action, plus handle many emergency contacts without interpreters. Insurance reps talk to clients, give presentations, and handle reported accidents through use of automation. Convention centers and conferences display instant translations of speeches on screens and on audience smartphones. Schools add captioning and subtitles to the classroom experience not only to be ADA compliant and support the 65% of students who are visual rather than auditory learners, but also to reach the 20% to 70% of students who are non-native speakers, thereby speeding assimilation and increasing reading ability. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, these new automation technologies enable medical researchers to share their findings around the world and collaborate together to stimulate breakthroughs and find cures via improved communication.