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Waverly Labs, a startup focused on real-time translation, is launching Forum, a mobile and web-based app that enables real-time translation.
The company’s mission is to break down language barriers, and it’s doing that with the launch of Forum, which you can use to receive either text or audio translations on your phone or web-connected computer. At the end of a translation session, a user can receive a full transcript of the conversation.
Designed for use in lecturers, auditoriums, and theaters, as well as in-person and/or remote meetings (working alongside platforms such as Zoom, Google Chat, and Microsoft Teams), it facilitates communication in 20 languages and 42 dialects. It certainly seems that we’re closing in on the Babel Fish translator from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a sci-fi novel published initially in 1978.
“We are on a mission to bridge global communications by building a world without language barriers. Forum is an exciting addition to our portfolio and ideally placed to help achieve this goal,” said Andrew Ochoa, CEO of Waverly Labs, in a statement. “Forum leverages our core translation technology that uses the latest speech recognition and machine translations in a compelling and easy-to-use app without the need for any hardware or equipment.”
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The company said Forum is extremely easy to download and use and allows users to either host or attend a session. Once a session is created, participants can join by simply scanning a QR code or entering a meeting code generated by the host. They then select which language they want to receive, and Forum provides text and audio translation direct to their device. At the end of the session, users have the option to receive a full transcript of the conversations.
Forum is a flexible platform that facilitates one-to-many, one-to-one, and many-to-many communications. It is suitable for a host of use cases, across multiple verticals and debuts with various tiered plans to suit all needs, the company said.
A number of companies have partnered with Waverly Labs to trial Forum to streamline meetings. The Japanese company Uniqlo uses Forum for in-person meetings within its New York office. In this use case, the host acts like a lecturer, communicating in their native tongue with participants dialing into their meetings and receiving translations on their devices while in the room together. Participants can follow along on text or audio using any earphones that can connect to their device.
With employees all over the globe, French powerhouse Chanel leverages Forum for international multi-person, multi-lingual meetings. Used alongside Google Chat, Forum is a great second-screen solution, allowing users to participate in video calls while receiving translations on their devices or web browsers.
The Perfect Crime, the longest-running play on Broadway, relies on Forum to enhance the experience it can provide its international visitors. Audience members have the option to join a session during the play and hear translations on their devices connected to headphones.
Forum is also a tool for lectures, speaker presentations, and events. In this one-to-many use case, a speaker starts as a session that audience members can join. Translations in their chosen language are received directly on their device as text and audio. A session can be “broadcast” in multiple languages simultaneously.
Forum has free and tiered feature plans. It is free for people to download, join sessions, and listen and stream translations (text) on their devices. Hosting sessions and sending communications for translation requires a subscription plan.
Plans vary based on the number of participants and languages they can support, the number of minutes of translation available per month, the number of sessions that can be hosted per month, and the ability to unlock additional features such as vocabulary preferences. Free, Personal, Professional, and Premium plans are available, with fees up to $35 per month. Customized “Team Plans” are also available to individual companies to best suit their needs.
Forum joins the Waverly Labs portfolio of translation solutions that includes Subtitles, a two-sided customer service counter display facilitating safe in-person interactions, and the Ambassador Interpreter, the over-the-ear device providing near-simultaneous audio and text translations.
The company said its fast, fluid and fluent translations are highly accurate and made possible thanks to its patented translation technology that combines the latest speech recognition and machine translation.
Its core technology captures speech, processes it in the cloud, and delivers translations to various devices and solutions optimized for different use cases. It can handle ongoing fluid conversations with people in a natural and unimpaired way, the company said. And it can translate conversations with multiple users, receiving different language translations simultaneously.
Forum is currently available as an IOS and web-based app, with an Android version launching at the end of Q1.
Waverly Labs, a tech startup at the forefront of voice and language products for professionals and teams, was founded in 2014 by Ochoa and Sergio Del Río (VP of Product). Between 2016–2020, they introduced the world’s first translation earbuds, Pilot Smart Earbuds, and Ambassador Interpreter, establishing the category and shipping over 50,000 units worldwide.