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South African Journal of Communication Disorders

On-line version ISSN 2225-4765
Print version ISSN 0379-8046


MADAHANA, Milka et al. A proposed artificial intelligence-based real-time speech-to-text to sign language translator for South African official languages for the COVID-19 era and beyond: In pursuit of solutions for the hearing impaired. S. Afr. J. Commun. Disord. [online]. 2022, vol.69, n.2, pp.1-11. ISSN 2225-4765.

BACKGROUND: The emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in communication being heightened as one of the critical aspects in the implementation of interventions. Delays in the relaying of vital information by policymakers have the potential to be detrimental, especially for the hearing impaired OBJECTIVES: This study aims to conduct a scoping review on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) for real-time speech-to-text to sign language translation and consequently propose an AI-based real-time translation solution for South African languages from speech-to-text to sign language METHODS: Electronic bibliographic databases including ScienceDirect, PubMed, Scopus, MEDLINE and ProQuest were searched to identify peer-reviewed publications published in English between 2019 and 2021 that provided evidence on AI-based real-time speech-to-text to sign language translation as a solution for the hearing impaired. This review was done as a precursor to the proposed real-time South African translator RESULTS: The review revealed a dearth of evidence on the adoption and/or maximisation of AI and machine learning (ML) as possible solutions for the hearing impaired. There is a clear lag in clinical utilisation and investigation of these technological advances, particularly in the African continent CONCLUSION: Assistive technology that caters specifically for the South African community is essential to ensuring a two-way communication between individuals who can hear clearly and individuals with hearing impairments, thus the proposed solution presented in this article

Keywords : artificial intelligence; COVID-19; hearing impaired; machine learning; speech; South Africa; text; translation; sign language.

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