Best Practices for Live Transcribe

A phone sitting on a table showing live transcribe in action outputting captions as someone offscreen speaks
A phone sitting on a table showing live transcribe in action outputting captions as someone offscreen speaks
Live Transcribe is an app to get free real time captions in 80+ languages, made for the deaf and hard of hearing. (image source)
A moose is sitting on a couch holding a phone with Live Transcribe running on it . A raven, perched on a stand, watches her.
A moose is sitting on a couch holding a phone with Live Transcribe running on it . A raven, perched on a stand, watches her.
Two friends, Moose and Raven, like to talk to each other using Live Transcribe.

Good Acoustics

Moose and Raven are using Live Transcribe in a cave. Moose is yelling “Hello” but the phone doesn’t transcribe anything.
Moose and Raven are using Live Transcribe in a cave. Moose is yelling “Hello” but the phone doesn’t transcribe anything.
While exploring a cave, Moose and Raven discover that due to lots of echoes, Live Transcribe just isn’t working. Moose can yell as loud as she wants, but they might need to move closer together for Live Transcribe to understand.
Moose is using Live Transcribe in church via bluetooth connection. The app transcribes even though the preacher is far away.
Moose is using Live Transcribe in church via bluetooth connection. The app transcribes even though the preacher is far away.
Moose and Raven attend a meeting at the local church. Moose brings her Bluetooth microphone so that Sloth can wear it at the podium. Even though the acoustic environment is very challenging, Live Transcribe is working great and Moose can understand.

Phone Calls

One-device experiments:

Two-device experiments:

Raven is in a phone booth calling Moose. Moose is using Live Transcribe on the other end, but the message isn’t correct.
Raven is in a phone booth calling Moose. Moose is using Live Transcribe on the other end, but the message isn’t correct.
Moose uses two devices to transcribe a phone call. Raven has some exciting news, but unfortunately Live Transcribe didn’t get the correct message.

Television

Raven is watching a parrot talk about seed prices on TV. Live Transcribe device is near the TV’s loudspeaker.
Raven is watching a parrot talk about seed prices on TV. Live Transcribe device is near the TV’s loudspeaker.
Raven prefers to use captions when he watches television. For shows that don’t have captions, Raven sets up Live Transcribe on a tablet right next to the TV’s loudspeaker (instead of holding the device). Raven can read the largest font setting from across the room.

Put the tablet across the table

External microphones

A comica usb-c mic
A comica usb-c mic
The Comica CVM-VS09 mic plugs directly into a USB-C device like a phone and gives better quality audio in the direction the mic is pointing.
A sena bluetooth mic
A sena bluetooth mic
The Sena (BT10–01) is a clip-on bluetooth wireless microphone.
A listening test demonstrating the power of wireless Bluetooth microphones, wired directional microphones, and the default in-built mic.

Using Live Transcribe directly with any external audio source

A saramonic utc-c35 adapter
A saramonic utc-c35 adapter
The 3.5mm aux jack of the Saramonic UTC-C35 goes into your audio output device (source) and the USB-C adapter goes into your phone or tablet with the Live Transcribe app. Then in the Live Transcribe app, just select the external microphone.
A screenshot showing Live Transcribe’s settings on how an external microphone selector appears
A screenshot showing Live Transcribe’s settings on how an external microphone selector appears
Once you plug in the Saramonic UTC-C35 to a phone running Live Transcribe, it shows up as an external microphone that you can select in the Settings.
a diagram showing 3 variants of the aux 3.5mm jack. left is TS. middle is TRS. right is TRRS
a diagram showing 3 variants of the aux 3.5mm jack. left is TS. middle is TRS. right is TRRS
Here are some photos of mini phone plugs, aka 3.5mm or 1/8" audio plugs. Notice the different numbers of “rings” between the “tip” and the “sleeve”, with TS (left), TRS (middle), and TRRS (right).
Image for post
Image for post
A Y-split audio adapter (in white) that plugs into a phone or laptop. With the separated mic socket, you can plug in your external audio to phone with Live Transcribe.
A deconstructed layout of a directional microphone, a 3.5mm aux TRRS splitter and a USB-C-to-aux adapter
A deconstructed layout of a directional microphone, a 3.5mm aux TRRS splitter and a USB-C-to-aux adapter
With the adapter above, the large directional (sometimes called shotgun) mic (the AudioTechnica ATR550) with TRS plug can be connected to a phone with a TRRS jack. An adapter typically splits out separate TRS jacks for the stereo headphones (green) and for the mono microphone (red).
A usb-to-aux adapter showing the two 3.5mm receptacles to connect headphone and mic
A usb-to-aux adapter showing the two 3.5mm receptacles to connect headphone and mic
This USB-to-Aux (Andrea USB-SA) adapts directly to a USB port (or to USB-C by yet another adapter), as opposed to adapting to a TRRS jack. Using USB for audio allows it to handle stereo microphone input.

Switching between WiFi and mobile/cellular data (3G, 4G LTE, 5G, etc)

Moose and Raven hold a tablet reading “Happy Transcribing!”
Moose and Raven hold a tablet reading “Happy Transcribing!”
Happy Transcribing!

Live Transcribe is a free realtime captioning Android app for the deaf and hard of hearing

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