With the push for greater web accessibility online, companies like WhatsApp, the most widely used mobile messenger application worldwide, are implementing new features. WhatsApp plans to release an AI transcription tool for its 2 billion monthly active users to access. The feature will allow users to receive auto-generated transcripts for all voice messages sent.

WhatsApp’s transcription option aims to provide more accessibility to all users, including those with hearing impairment, as well as those who simply prefer to read their messages versus listen to them.

How WhatsApp’s Voice Transcription Works

The new transcription feature, first spotted in the iOS versions of the application by WABetaInfo, is still in the early development stages. The new voice transcription feature will work by sending “speech data” to Apple.

Rather than using a WhatsApp-developed artificial intelligence, Apple’s speech recognition technology will be used to process the transcription request. The process outlined implies that the user’s transcription data won’t be sent to servers on WhatsApp or Facebook, the application’s parent company.

Along with the end-to-end encryption feature released by WhatsApp earlier this year, users can look forward to a more secure and private WhatsApp experience when using the optional transcription feature.

“When a message is transcripted…its transcription is saved locally in the WhatsApp database, so it won’t [need transcription] again if you want to see its transcription later,” WABetaInfo reported.

Screenshot from WhatsApp that explains how speech data from the app will be sent to Apple to process transcription requests. Image: WABetaInfo

Screenshot from WhatsApp that explains how speech data from the app will be sent to Apple to process transcription requests. Image: WABetaInfo

What The Announcement Means for Businesses Using WhatsApp

With many businesses using WhatsApp to communicate with employees and customers via private chats and groups, this transcription feature is likely to help them keep channels clearer and account for disability needs.

Using transcription within WhatsApp offers:

Image of a person sitting down with a cup of coffee while looking at their cell phone.

New Challenges & Opportunities

WhatsApp’s voice transcription will likely offer businesses and individuals new opportunities to engage and communicate with employees and customers, yet the accuracy of these transcripts is one challenge which is sure to arise.

While WhatsApp’s new voice transcription solution avoids the need to go through 3rd party applications to get transcripts, once released, the accuracy levels provided in these transcripts will likely need room for further testing and evaluation.

For business leaders who are looking to provide accessibility to their clients, as well as accuracy to present professionally, using human edited transcription software such as Verbit’s is best practice. Verbit offers businesses useful AI transcription and captioning tools that guarantee 99%+ accuracy to offer employees and consumers equitable experiences when encountering brands and communicating with them. . To learn more about implementing these tools, reach out to us.

Learning disabilities affect a large number of the US population with 1 in 5 young students navigating learning or attention issues. In honor of Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, it’s important to be aware of the diversity learning disabilities that exist. There are undoubtedly many individuals that struggle day-to-day without a diagnosis and tailored support, and there’s more that K-12 schools and universities can do to support learners.

Learning disabilities are often misunderstood. Some teachers even believe that attention or learning issues are due to laziness.

“There’s little bit of a misunderstanding about learning disability,” said Cindy Cipoletti, Esq., Executive Director, The Learning Disabilities Association of America. “If you’re in this field, you understand that learning disabilities, they’re neurobiological. It’s a different way that you process information, it’s not an intellectual disability. If you’re not necessarily in this and you don’t know a lot of this, sometimes employers, schools, even parents can confuse learning disabilities with intellectual disabilities and they’re not the same thing… There are a lot of students that are both learning disabled and gifted.”

Verbit graphic with the words “Students with learning disabilities are 3x more likely to drop out of school.” On the graphic, there is an illustration of two people sitting down and talking to each other.

In order to help students with learning disabilities thrive, educators must be aware of the different learning needs that exist, as well as effective methods for providing support.

1. Dyscalculia

3-7% of children and adults have dyscalculia and those who have it may be at risk for developing other learning disabilities. Dyscalculia can cause an individual to struggle with understanding numbers, comprehending new equations or making sense of higher level math concepts.

Verbit graphic with the words “Honoring Learning Disability Awareness Month,” and “Highlighting ‘Dyscalculia.’” On the graphic, there is an illustration of a person reading numbers on their laptop screen.

To help learners with dyscalculia, educators should take time to sit down with the student to gain a greater understanding of their needs. Having a conversation is just the beginning of the process—providing the right tools and accommodations are key to ensuring their success long-term. Learning tools like providing a calculator, interactive math games and offering extra time to complete work are some useful strategies that can be used.

2. Dyslexia

Individuals with dyslexia often have trouble reading, spelling and memorization, including struggling to remember the names of people and places. This condition affects approximately 20% of the population and represents the largest subset of individuals with learning disabilities.

As with all disabilities, early screening and diagnosis is a key factor in helping individuals with dyslexia. When building an accommodation plan for a student, educators should take advantage of technologies that offer students multiple ways of ingesting information. Useful assistive technologies include note taking software, speech-to-text captioning like the one offered by Verbit, and audio recording devices that allow students to record and revisit material after a class session has ended.

Verbit graphic with the words “Dyslexia is the most common type of learning disability in the US.” On the graphic, there is an illustration of a person reading numbers on their laptop screen.

3. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a rare condition that affects an individual’s ability to process and make sense of sounds. Although it has a connection to hearing, APD is not considered a form of hearing loss. Learners with APD can struggle to retain auditory information like a teacher’s classroom lecture, audio content from video or spoken conversations with others.

Verbit graphic with the words “Honoring Learning Disability Awareness Month,” and “Highlighting ‘Auditory Processing Disorder’ (APD)” On the graphic, there is an illustration of a person speaking through a megaphone.

To address the needs of those with APD, many schools are offering students closed captioning on videos and real-time captioning for classroom lectures. Providing textual versions of spoken content can give students with APD the ability to learn and comprehend in a format that they are readily able to learn from. Speech language and educational therapy is often given to students in combination with these assistive tools.

4. Dysgraphia

Between 10-30% of children struggle with dysgraphia, a condition that affects a person’s ability to write, spell and express themselves through writing. Because writing represents a significant part of a student’s education, dysgraphia can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life if not treated appropriately.

Verbit graphic with the words “Honoring Learning Disability Awareness Month,” and “Highlighting ‘Dysgraphia’” On the graphic, there is an illustration of a two people sitting down and talking to each other.

Educators can make the writing process for students with dysgraphia easier by providing individualized handwriting and spelling instruction to students. Instructional exercises such as tracing letters with pencil erasers or having students write a letter after reading it out loud are some of the many techniques being used in classrooms.

5. Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a condition that affects an individual’s ability to control their movements, balance and motor skills. Tasks like writing, typing or even cooking can be difficult for a person with Dyspraxia to execute. It affects up to 10% of the population, with males being affected 4 times more often than females.

Verbit graphic with the words “Honoring Learning Disability Awareness Month,” and “Highlighting ‘Dyspraxia.’” On the graphic, there is an illustration of two people stacking boxes on top of each other.

Occupational and physical therapy is often used to treat symptoms of dyspraxia. Individuals with dyspraxia often need accommodations like speech-to-text technology to provide transcription of videos shown in their courses. These transcriptions greatly support students who struggle with taking notes due to fine motor difficulty.

LDs often don’t exist in a silo

“A lot of these sometimes don’t just exist in a silo, they overlap each other and they affect each other,” said Cipoletti.

“The captioning for students with learning disabilities, it’s going to assist, [but] maybe not those students who struggled to read because the captioning aspect it’s going to come up on the screen and students that are struggling to read might have trouble with the time. But if that can be transcribed in addition to captioned, then that’s something again, that’s going to help those students. It’s going to help students that struggle with comprehension because they need to hear and see things more frequently and they need to go slower and to be able to have that. Then students with dysgraphia to be able to not have to necessarily write down what they’re seeing, but to be able to have that captioned or transcribed for them, that makes a huge difference as well,” she said.

 Verbit graphic with the words, “Students with learning disabilities spend 80% of their time in classrooms designed for the general population.” On the graphic, there is an illustration of two people stacking boxes on top of each other.

Better assist students with learning disabilities

It’s one of Verbit’s missions to dispel misconceptions about students with learning disabilities and help others gain a deeper understanding of their unique needs.

Verbit provides useful captioning, transcription and audio description technologies that can help support all learners, including those with learning disabilities. Get in touch with us to learn more.