Our parents often have trouble pronouncing words in English, making it difficult for them to feel included in their work environment. Moreover, having children who can speak English compels them to rely on them to speak for them rather than trying to themselves. We want to help not only our parents but other immigrants build a better sense of belonging and relief in a foreign area. Not only this but with the number of immigrants rapidly increasing in Canada, an easy to use and accessible application becomes more necessary.
What it does
Our application offers a free platform for non-English speakers to practice proper pronunciation, serving as a 24-hour teaching assistant that fits in your pocket. A pocket buddy that creates a safe space for you to make mistakes and grow. We take the user’s pronunciation and display any errors. Our ai displays what it believes the user is mispronouncing and shows what it heard, compared to what should’ve been said.
We differentiate from generic translation software like Google Translate, by offering not only translation but accurate cues on where you need to enunciate.
How we built it
We built this program HTML and CSS and served it with React Native webview. With accessibility in mind, we focused more on the mobile applications of our program. We are also implementing SpeechAce’s API as they have a well developed audio recognition and visual displays. We are also demoing the application on expo.
Challenges we ran into
Initially, we tried working with Wavesurfer.js, but we ran into many compatibility issues. Mid-way into the hackathon, we had to make the quick decision to pivot and use a new API -- SpeechAce. Even though we weren’t able to get access to SpeechAce’s API, we got around this by wrapping their demo website in an iframe and incorporated into our application. This way we could express our vision with the demo.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
As this is our first hackathon, we’re proud of how we were able to efficiently plan out the direction we were going to take, and delegate the work based on each person’s strengths. Compared to our experience in LiteHacks 2018, which did not require any coding experience, we have definitely improved our time management together.
What we learned
We learned the importance of goal setting and planning. With a solid schedule, we stayed on top of our goals and were able to finish with time left to improve. While working on our application, we gained a more in-depth view on how APIs function when we incorporated them into our project. Also, using Figma for early prototyping was a new experience for all of us.
What's next for Talkative
Our main vision for Talkative is to have a “language buddy”. We plan on making this happen by adding more complex features such as AI to allow for dialogue as opposed to just confirming pronunciation. In terms of short term goals, we hope to properly implement SpeechAce’s API into our program and expand our functionality to a wider array of languages.