"When we had just founded the company, they constantly told, "What are you talking about - telephones on Broadway?", says GalaPro CEO Yonat Burlin. The Israeli startup today launched a new application based on voice identification technology. GalaPro developed the application, which offers a real-time translation of shows, in cooperation with the Shubert Organization. The company's application is designed to provide accessibility services to theater goers with vision or hearing disabilities and those needing translation.
The application is based on voice identification technology enabling theaters to provide full accessibility and translation services for any show with a written script and any seat in the theater in real time. According to Burlin, while a movie theater can easily provide real-time translation services, people with hearing disabilities have hitherto had to settle for the services of a simultaneous translator into sign language and subtitles provided only once a quarter. "Together with Shubert Organization, we set up an advisory committee of people with disabilities, and in a process with them, we built a product for them according to their needs and their theater consumption habits," Burlin explains.
The application provides automatically encoded subtitles, a voice description of what is happening on the stage, and translation in the form of subtitles or dubbing. Responding to comments about the problem of preparing telephones for play theaters, Burlin says, "The application was designed to improve the users' experience without detracting from the other viewers' enjoyment through features such as a darkened screen and audio for earphones only. In addition, the application offers up to 120 characters each time, which facilitates rapid reading that does not prevent users from enjoying the show."
Burlin said that following the cooperation with Shubert, the Broadway League had set a new standard for accessibility for all Broadway shows aimed at the general public. The standard requires technological access available at all times for all shows. "From the beginning, we hoped that the cooperation between GalaPro and Shubert Organization, the largest operators of Broadway theaters, would extend to the entire field. Shubert gave us a real platform for testing our technology in accordance with the highest standards in the industry," Burlin says. The application is available for downloading and free use by all Broadway theaters owned by Shubert Organization. In addition, the company has signed agreements with two thirds of the companies operating Broadway theaters, and is negotiating with additional theaters.
Shubert Organization is the largest owner and operator of theaters on Broadway with 17 Broadway and six off-Broadway theaters. Shubert president Robert Wankel said, "We are delighted to work together with GalaPro in developing this breakthrough technology. This is significant step forward in our efforts to make the theater accessible to the general public, including people from various places in the world and people with disabilities."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 16, 2018
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