Communicating more quickly with deaf partner via keyboards

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Tanigeu, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. Tanigeu Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    My partner is profoundly deaf through illness in adulthood. Is it possible to connect two Magic keyboards to one iMac to enable us to converse via the screen when sitting side by side without having to constantly pass one keyboard between us?

    As an aside, any ideas you might have for ways to 'talk' without much delay when walking together outside would also be much appreciated. Notebooks and pens are very slow, and our minds work rather quickly :)

    We are avid emailers whenever apart, but that's a bit slow, and lip reading can be tiring, and is far from 100% accurate.

    He has a cellphone. I don’t as I can no longer afford one. Is there any such thing as a kind of walkie talkie that only involves text? (Sorry to be so archaic ;)).

    All ideas for enhancing face-to-face communication would be very welcome.

    Many thanks for reading this :)

    (iMac 27" 11.3, OS x 10.6 2.8, Ghz Intel Core i5, 16 GB RAM, ATI Ra
  2. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Well I am deaf...anyway I don't know about magic keyboard...That is new to me. I used FaceTime all the time with deaf friends and that is what deaf people use it a lot...Thank you Steve Jobs anyway and also me and deaf people used iMessage a lot. Maybe you can google for deaf schools that might help you for more informations like keyboard, etc.

    Good luck :apple:
  3. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    I'm rushing out of the door and won't be near a computer for the rest of the day, but I just wanted to thank you for such a quick and helpful reply.

    I don't really know much about keyboards. This Magic Keyboard came with the Mac, and was small and simple, which is what I needed, so I kept it :)

    When I get back I'll look up FaceTime and iMessage, and also follow your advice about further research.


  4. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    I'm not aware of an Apple product called Magic keyboard... I'm guessing maybe you mean the Apple Wireless Keyboard?

    I saw your question and was curious and found this thread:

    where it is said by someone called captfred:

    "Yes you can pair and connect two keyboards simultaneously. (mice and trackpads also). It can get a bit confusing so in bluetooth setup you can rename the devices."


    "To re verify my post I paired two aluminum wireless keyboards to my iMac and posted above using one keyboard under the left hand and the other under my right. No delays at all, pretty much seamless."


    "There's no real trick to it, just go to System Preferences > Bluetooth > hit the "+" sign below the list of currently paired devices. Put the device in discovery mode and it will pair."


    "Pair the additional device as any other. System Preferences > bluetooth > +. Put the device in discovery mode and it will pair. The device name is automatically assigned but it doesn't really matter the name because it uses the 6 byte address. It can be renamed for clarity after pairing using the gear icon under the device list. It will automatically connect after pairing. The preference pane options will apply to both devices. "


    "All the above applies to Apple's aluminum wireless keyboards, magic mouse, and magic trackpads. I can't promise anything for the white keyboards or mighty mouse."

    Note that these messages were posted in Jan. 2011 so there's a good chance they were running a newer version of OS X than you have. Still, I'd expect it to work the same for you...

    Hope this helps you out!

  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Won't it be easier/faster for both partners to learn a standard sign language? I can not imagine tying to type as fast as a person can sign. Also signing is something you can do virtually anywhere...not just in from of a computer terminal.
  6. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    Dear Brian,

    Yes, that’s the one :) I’m living on an island on the other side of the Atlantic to you, and over here “Magic Keyboard” is a common pet name for it. However, I appreciate the need for standard terminology on a forum, so I thank you for pointing me towards the proper name for it, which I will use henceforth.

    Thank you so much. That’s exactly what I needed to know :)

    I’ve just carefully read through the thread. All I need to clarify is if this means that both keyboards can be used for conversation ‘simultaneously’ without having to press any ‘buttons’ to switch control?

    However, being of an optimistic nature, now knowing that the pairing is possible, I’ve just ordered a second Apple Wireless Keyboard.

    I’m now grateful for your reply for a second reason, as my OSX is much on my mind just now.

    Please excuse the topic-diversion while I explain.

    Tired of lugging heavy camera equipment around with me on walks, I recently bought a Panasonic GX7 (wonderful on all counts). Problem is that I can’t import RAW images into my version of Lightroom (4.4).

    In order to upgrade to a version that has camera support for the GX7, I have to upgrade my OS.

    This is a real frustration for me as even though both upgrades would be free (one via Photoshop CC) I’ve deliberately avoided upgrading them as I have no need for any of the new features on offer. Snow Leopard has always worked like a dream and LR 4.4 does everything I need it to do.

    But I will be using the GX7 a lot, and since Lightroom handles all my images, I don’t want to use anything else to open them.

    So I am already (unwillingly) on the brink of upgrading to Mavericks and the latest version of Lightroom, but before I do I just wanted to check to see if I can do this keyboard pairing with Mavericks?

    Lightroom 5.2 will work with OS X 10.7 or later, so I could go with that, but not wanting to go through the hassle of upgrading again too soon, I was thinking it best to change to the latest versions of both.

    The main thing, however, is to get these keyboards successfully paired and working. Maximum communication with my man is worth much more than opening RAW images :)

    It has. Immensely. And thank you so much for taking the time to find that thread for me :)

    Tanigeu (f)
  7. Tanigeu, Jul 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014

    Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    Through writing tens of thousands of emails to each other over the years we’ve both become very quick at typing :) But watching skilled signers conversing I fully agree that it’s much faster and more fluid.

    The thing is that he only became deaf eight years ago as a result of Meniere’s, so his speech is still unaffected, and he likes to talk :)

    My hearing is good and I can talk as much as he can. So in effect, I’d be the only one who’d need to learn how to sign.

    We don’t socialise (much happier being out with our cameras near the sea, day or night :)). He's a hard-working single father, and at home and work he’s surrounded by hearing people.

    Also, he and I are useless at learning other languages. He speaks no other language apart from English, and I’ve been teaching myself to read in French for the past 20 years. Even with daily practice I’m only up to reading 'Alice in Wonderland' with 95% accuracy. So it would take us both many years to learn a rich language like sign language to a competent level, and we’re both pretty old already :)

    We're happy solitaries who live in different countries and only get together face-to-face for a few weeks every year. Since neither of us know anyone else who’s deaf, we could not practice sign language, which would make it take even longer to learn whenever we're apart.

    And we talk about so many things (‘Cabbages and Kings’ ;)) that using written or typed English is currently the best way to communicate our thoughts.

    However, we are already having fun creating a private sign language to cover our most commonly-used phases (we have few pavements over here, so a single sign for “get out of the road and jump into that hedge quickly - there’s a car coming” saves vital seconds :), and we hope to expand our vocabulary over time.

    As I mentioned above, I'm still hoping to find some kind of radio-controlled walkie-talkie affair that could transmit text only to replace pens and notebooks to take with us on walks, but my searches have turned up nothing so far.

    Many thanks for your help and taking the time to reply. It’s much appreciated.

    Tanigeu (f)
  8. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)

    I'm pleased I was able to help you out! I think you have a good chance of success using the two keyboards, but as I only have 1 Apple keyboard (and it's not a wireless one), I'm unable to try the idea out. Also I'm running Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8).

    I can't say for sure, but I think that if one were to press keys on the two keyboards "simultaneously", the letters would get intermixed on the display. I base this on the statement by "captfred":

    I think he's saying he touch-typed the posting with one hand on each keyboard!

    If that's so, you only need to avoid typing on one keyboard while your partner is using the other, and vice versa. You would want to agree on some convention so that one would know when the other was done typing -- a few carriage returns, a special character, a nod, etc.

    One aspect you haven't mentioned is how you're going to actually display what is being typed. I've been assuming you'd simply open a simple text editor like or a word processor like, and probably discard the "document" when you closed the application. Seems to me that would work fine, assuming you can both see the screen easily.

    I sure hope I haven't caused you to spend money unnecessarily! (I tend tobe of a pessimistic nature!) I really do think it will work, but I've been wrong plenty of times before! Unless we can find someone to further test out the idea I guess you'll have to do it yourself.

    Anybody out there with two Apple Wireless Keyboards willing to try this out???

    I totally understand your reluctance to upgrade when everything works well and does what you want! I was running 10.6 until about a year ago, and I still haven't bothered to upgrade to 10.9. I think I'll wait until awhile after 10.10 to upgrade.

    Again, I can't say for sure, but I think if it works on 10.6 it's very, very likely to work the same on 10.9. However, while Apple doesn't doesn't usually remove basic functionality like this in newer OS X versions, sometimes they do remove or break a feature.

    What I would do is wait on the upgrade for little more. Get your additional keyboard and try it out under 10.6. If it works there, at least you now know that it can work. Then upgrade to 10.9 (or whatever); if you can't get the two keyboards working under 10.9, you then have the option of going back to 10.6 and using them that way (coming up with some other solution for the RAW files of your new camera).

    This assumes that you have a full, reliable backup of your entire 10.6 system made just before you upgrade to 10.9. You have presumably valuable photos on your Mac, so I hope you have some backup strategy in place?

    I wouldn't go to 10.7, just based upon what I've read of others' experiences. I've been very happy with 10.8, but probably going to 10.9 is the best choice.

    An interesting project; I'd be interested to hear how it turns out!

  9. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I am a fluent ASL (American Sign Language and it is my primary language..English is my second as you and other people often not understand my english grammars anyway) I must tell you that learning ASL is not very easy I have seen or met people who knows ASL they often forgot how to sign. :apple:
  10. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014

    Dear Badrottie,

    I wanted to thank you again for the excellent suggestion you made about using Facetime, I can see how useful it can be, but I had forgotten to mention that Partner and I are both a bit old-fashioned and we have never used the video function for communication on any of the computers we’ve owned. We’re in love with the written word :) The transition from letter writing to emails was seamless.

    Until I met him online I had very little understanding of what it was like to become deaf in adulthood. We’ve often talk about his experience of losing his hearing, and his everyday experience of it, and I’ve read every book I can find written by people with acquired hearing loss, but a hearing person can never really understand what it’s like. I just hope that I’ve become a bit more sensitive to his needs and what he goes through as a result.

    What I did discover is how isolating deafness can be, and how insensitive other people can be towards deaf people. Unlike blindness, which people seem to be able to identify with more easily, deafness appears to be a ‘Cinderella’ condition.

    (I also know that the experiences of someone born deaf are very different from someone who suffers from hearing loss in later life.)

    I concentrate on making his life easier, and maximising our communication when we’re together in real life. The problem is that when we’re apart we communicate seamlessly via email, but when we’re together that fluidity is broken.

    Although I try hard to remember, I don’t always remember to face him so he can lip read, and the necessary need for repetition halts the normal flow of both serious conversation and banter. I don’t mind on my own account, and he never complains, but I can see how this tires and frustrates him after a while, so I’m looking for anything that can make even the slightest bit of difference.

    I have spent many days roaming the net looking at aids for the deaf, and he already has quite a few around his home and at work. But in terms of one-to-one social communication I feel that there could be more on offer for those unable to learn sign language.

    As for sign language, I think that a lot of people don’t understand that the various sign languages are complete languages in their own right, with their own grammars, and not some kind of visual clone of another language.

    I’ve read books about sign language in the past, and have been appalled at the prejudice against it, and the way that learning the spoken word was imposed on deaf children (whether they wanted that or not).

    I can also understand your annoyance when people try to correct your writing. As I understand it, this behaviour is banned by the rules of the forum, and should either be ignored or reported:

    Forum Rules – Help Center

    8. Corrections. There is no need to point out another poster's spelling or grammatical errors unless you think it is causing confusion. Remember that not all members are native English speakers. Communication, not correctness, is our goal....

    I have three close friends who are severely dyslexic and who, at my request, write down their thoughts and send them to me unedited and without spell-checking. This preserves the unique beauty of their writing. When they used to spend hours editing to make it look ‘right’ before sending, all that creativeness was lost. Their writing is perfectly understandable too, but years of having to face the prejudice of pedants had made them feel self-conscious about it.

    I know you are not dyslexic, but I feel that you may have experienced very similar problems. As ASL is your first language, and the one you use most often, to be asked to write English perfectly is asking a bit much, especially as most of the people asking probably only understand one language themselves.

    Now I must stop before I am taken to task by a moderator for deviation from the topic. I cannot claim that I don’t know the rules, so I must try to abide by them :)

    In my own mind, however, I crave their indulgence as I feel that this is on-topic as my goal in this thread is to find ways to communicate with my deaf partner, so understanding the communication problems that deaf people face in general, and how technology might help overcome this, is an essential part of the solution.

    Sorry this is so long, but editing would take much longer, and my time is short ;)

    Once again, thank you so much for your help.

  11. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    Dear Brian,

    Having observed many Mac-related forums for years without posting, I believe that this is the friendliest and most professional of them all :)

    I’m very grateful for your help and I am touched that you would have tried it out for me if you had been able.

    I agree. Once the keyboard arrives from Amazon I will send a report on how I get on with the set up and testing it out.

    I always appreciate people who have that spirit of curiosity and are willing to test out theories with practice (barring certain exceptions like poor Franz Reichelt, of course ;))

    I will be doing as “captfred” did and setting it up myself. My partner is due back on the island in two weeks’ time and it’s in the nature of a surprise gift for him.

    That’s an excellent idea, which we will adopt :)

    I love the simplicity of Pages, so that will be my choice.

    That would be the sane order of operations ;) But having both sentimentally saved every single one of the 10,000 plus emails we’ve exchanged since meeting online four years ago, I know we’ll end up making a folder to keep these new conversations in too :D

    We will be sitting snuggled up close on a sofa in front of the screen, facing forward, and thankfully we both have very good eyesight :)

    As for the sofa, I used to have years of terrible back problems when I used chairs in front of my computers (related to trapped nerves and discs, as I understand it), but a few years ago I read a surprising piece of serious research that suggested that it was better to sit back at a considerable angle when working, and not straight up:

    I was sceptical, but this was such an iconoclastic idea that I tried it out by substituting a comfy armchair, and after a couple of weeks all my back problems spontaneously resolved, never to return, and no more trips to the doc or physiotherapist either, even though I sit in front of the Mac for at least half of every day :)

    I have since graduated to using a sofa (with an added foot rest ) so that others can sit beside me in comfort while we browse photos or the like :)

    I do tend to be optimistic, but will always think before acting. Also, I don’t like money much, and as soon as I have any spare I spend it on myself or others, so there will be no regrets :)

    After 15 years on Windows PCs I know I will always use Macs from now on. I ordered the second keyboard knowing that if it didn’t work for this purpose it would be a good backup when I finally wear this one out, and I’m surprised its lasted this long as it is. I’m afraid my Magic Mice have not been so resistant to such frequent handling ;)

    Making mistakes is my favourite way of learning, so I assume that you must be pretty smart by now ;)

    I’m quite happy to do that. I learn as I go along, but have never been scared of tinkering with computers:)

    I think you’ll have to shout louder :D

    Unfortunately my keyboard order is still at the ‘Preparing for Dispatch’ stage, and has to come over much land and sea to get to me, so after this post I may be uncharacteristically quiet for a week or so until I've tried the pairing on OS.6, as you advised ;)

    Brian, I’m leaving out the part here where I replied to your good advice about upgrading OS. That’s because I’m making one last ditch attempt to find a workaround to the LR problem first. I’m going to post to a photographic forum for an answer to this as it’s off-topic on this thread.

    Lightroom 4.4 works fine opening my 5D2 RAW files, and I intend to stay keep that camera (for best ;)) as long as its available to buy. I don’t need what’s in any later cameras.

    So I’m wondering if I could find a program to download that would work with 10.6 and open RAW files from the Panasonic GX7. And if so, would these files then be transferrable to Lightroom? That's what I'm going to ask, so wish me luck :)

    There’s a big gap in my knowledge about how images are handled on computers, so this might be completely impossible, but, as you can see, I am still trying to hang on to Snow Leopard by my fingernails ;)

    So will I :D

    I’m so glad they you share my curiosity about the project, and thank you once more for generously taking the time to help guide me through this.

  12. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    Quick Update:

    Brian, trying to find a workaround was just getting too complicated, so I used the wise advice you gave in your last post, and, last night, I tidied up my Mac, backed up, and upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mavericks and from Lightroom 4.4 to Lightroom 5.5.

    Due to my limited download speeds it took a long time, but it was a perfect transition apart from a strange issue with my Magic Mouse swipes and scrolls. I'm also having to swat away a lot of pesky reminders for things I don't need, like iCloud and adding 'contacts' all over the place, but I'll disable those soon.

    I can finally open the RAW images from the GX7 on LR :)

    My only problem is that I was tired at the time and didn't pay attention to where I was downloading Lightroom from. It was a page from the Adobe site, so I went ahead. But now it looks as if I've downloaded a 30-day trial with the option to buy, instead of the free upgrade I was expecting as a subscriber to Photoshop CC. I'll work out how to put that right today, along with taming my Mouse again. I think it's just suffering a psychotic break. It must have had a closer relationship with the Snow Leopard than I realised :D

    I also had news that my Apple Wireless Keyboard is now en route, so I'll be back to report on the main project very soon after it arrives.

    Thanks once more,

  13. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    Hi Brian,

    Second keyboard arrived today and was paired with the first in less than a minute :)

    Both keyboards placed side-by-side in front of me:

    1) Switched on new keyboard.

    2) System preferences > Bluetooth.

    3) New keyboard was automatically listed under a new name in the list of devices.

    4) Pressed ‘pair’ and was prompted to key in six numbers, then press ‘return’.

    New keyboard was immediately paired and ready to go :)

    Can now very smoothly use both keyboards to type in Pages, or anywhere else where one keyboard can be used.

    As with 'catfred', I can type with my left hand on one keyboard, and my right on the other. If I press two keys ‘simultaneously’, the Mac works out which one I pressed first, and both characters appear with one before the other.

    Mavericks has made this a very quick and easy operation, and I haven’t regretted upgrading for one moment :)

    The last thing is to see how this works with my partner. He's spending the last three weeks of August with me, and I'm looking forward to surprising him. We've often talked about trying to set up something like this, so I know it will be a welcome surprise :)

    I'll make a final report back once we've tried it out a few times, but so far it's looking like the perfect solution :D

  14. HarryWarden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2012
    Don't have much to add to Badrottie's suggestions but as someone who is 70% deaf (completely in one ear, partial in the other), I really appreciate the candor, sensitivity, and refreshing nature of this conversation. As already stated, people don't really understand or even try to understand hearing loss.

    For me, asking someone to repeat what they said is nerve-wracking because of the wide variety of reactions I have received over the years. There are a lot of impatient people in this world. I also lost my hearing after birth as I lost all my hearing in my right ear when I was 13 due to a line drive hit to my head while playing baseball.
  15. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    Hello Harry,

    Please excuse me for my rather chaotic reply. Because my time is limited right now I'm just writing out random thoughts in response to what you've said without putting them in order.

    It's long because I don't have time to summarise it, so I'm fully expecting to be admonished by the mods for drifting too far off the topic of keyboards ;) But in my defence, I'm so new here that I'm not yet able to use private messaging, and I didn't want to leave you without a response.

    My partner arrives back on the island in six days time, and every visit feels like the first time, so I rush around getting my nest sorted out to make him feel at home. But being halfway through oven-cleaning, I really appreciate the chance to sit down for a bit. I'm not naturally inclined to love housework :)

    I'm touched to hear that you appreciate the thread. It's so hard to know if anyone else is listening in, and my shyness makes me talk so much that I always imagine people running for cover from the avalanche of words :D

    From what my love has told me, and from the books I've read that were written by other deaf people, the one word I believe characterises the experience most of all would be 'isolation'. It's a terrible thing to be blind, but at least it doesn't have to include social isolation because fast-paced discussion and banter are still perfectly possible.

    But to be deaf and to be in the company of hearing people when no one is taking the time to include you in the conversation must make deaf people feel like ghosts sometimes.

    I've been on the internet almost from the beginning, and it seems to me that it's a revolutionary force for the disabled (we still happily call it that in our old-fashioned and not very PC outpost on this planet ;)).

    I met my partner by chance through mutual interests on a forum some years ago, and I had no idea that he was deaf at first, but when he told me I realised how much freedom he had found on the net, and it had more than compensated for the social life he chose to give up.

    Most of the friends I've met online have turned out to have some kind of physical or mental disability, and the anonymity of the net has shielded them from prejudice or stigmatisation. I am also severely disabled, I have an incurable lifelong hereditary condition, and perhaps my own experience of how ignorant 'normal' people can be has helped me to empathise more closely with what what my partner sometimes has to endure.

    He's a a highly intelligent man, and his skills are recognised fully at work, yet since becoming deaf he's had to put up with strangers assuming that he's of subnormal intelligence. I don't know how he controls his anger and frustration in situations like that.

    I can't find the words to express how angry it makes me feel to imagine how anyone can behave in such a rude and imbecilic way when conversing with someone who'd deaf.

    When I first met my Love in 'real' life, I quickly noticed that he was pretending to have understood what I said so that he didn't have to keep asking me to repeat it. But I asked him to keep requesting repeats until he understood, and now we both relax into that slower and more thoughtful rhythm of conversation.

    I also think that a lot of people (myself included, before I met him) believe that lip-reading is far more easy and reliable than it actually is, and perhaps that adds to the misunderstandings.

    Do you augment what you are able to hear with lipreading yourself? And if so, do you find that people keep forgetting to face you?

    That sentence struck a chord in me. On a deeper level it's a profound philosophical observation, and something that underpins many of the problems in Western society. The 'no time to stand and stare' syndrome.

    This world seems to be moving faster and faster, and nearly everyone is in a hurry, yet there is only one final destination for us all, and for myself, I'd rather linger along the way :D

    Since meeting my partner I've become aware of just how much nearly everyone talks. Countless billions of words are spoken every day, yet so few of them are meaningful or even listened to. In our Western culture we've come to consider speech as the primary means of communication, and we rarely look for alternatives outside of frozen speech - the written word :)

    Since most people use speech for communication that only serves to increase the feeling of alienation when it can no longer be heard.

    So he and I have been exploring other ways of communicating. We both love photography and art, so using purely visual means of communication is one very powerful alternative which we greatly enjoy exploring.

    There is also, of course, communication via touch, scent and taste (we love cooking together :)).

    Also, to enjoy just sitting together in silence, either beside the sea or at home, doing creative things, is another way of expressing love without words. I say 'in silence' yet I know that tinnitus is very often the companion of deafness (and I have age-related tinnitus myself). Just as the blind rarely see 'blackness' the deaf rarely experience silence. Another thing that 'normals' usually fail to understand.

    Have you noticed how many people seem almost frightened of solitude and silence? It must be a terrible thing to be afraid of being alone with yourself.

    That must have been devastating.

    Before my Love contracted Meniere's he had also had hearing problems in one ear due to an infection in childhood. To then suffer bilateral hearing loss was quite a blow. His speech remains unaffected, but his hearing aid is deliberately very visible, and that alone can be enough to cause strangers to make all kinds of unwarranted assumptions about him.

    Now I've succeeded in setting up the dual keyboards, I'm going to continue my search for other kinds of technology to aid fluent communication. I wish I had the skills to invent a short-range radio communicator for 'talking' when on country walks ( I don't have a cell phone, and can't get the hang of typing quickly on those miniature 'keyboards'). My next project will be to try and find someone who can create something like this for me, as I don't think that there's anything like that around, but I may be wrong. I don't know if it's even possible to transmit text via radio.

    I'm sure that more could be done to help deaf people via computer technology. I don't understand why there's so little out there to aid communication. If you have any recommendations or ideas of your own, please let me know.

    Harry, thank you so much for writing in. I hope you have supportive and understanding people in your life. My partner is a single father, and his family are all very supportive, as are his work colleagues. This means everything to him. But I would find it hard to imagine what it would be like being deaf and not having that kind of support from others.

    And please forgive me if I have been insensitive in this reply in any way.

  16. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    Could you not use Siri to Dictate? I'm not entirely sure if it would be quicker but it's the only type of speech - text converter I could think of. I doubt the walkie talkie type thing you mention exists.

    I'm also confused why you need 2 keyboards if you say his speech isn't impaired? Surely only you need to type? And he replies with his voice?
  17. Tanigeu thread starter Guest

    Jul 21, 2014
    Thank you very much for the suggestion, which I hadn't thought of at all, but sounds very useful. I will look into it immediately.

    I've looked for the walkie-talkie kind of device (which would have been useful over short distances), but I agree with you that it probably doesn't exist

    Mea maxima culpa :) I'm not surprised that you're confused. I confess that he and I have spent so much more time in different countries typing emails to each other that I completely forgot that it's only me who will need to use a keyboard when we're in the same room :eek:

    I can offer no excuse except to blame my advanced age and the fact that my own disability often affects my ability to focus on the obvious.

    I'm actually laughing at myself now for having made such an elementary mistake, but I do hope that this thread may still be of use to anyone who has a deaf partner who also has speech problems.

    And I thank you once again, as you have saved me from the embarrassment of having to explain why one of his belated birthday gifts would have been a solitary wireless keyboard without any rational explanation :D

    Ah me. I do like getting older, but I would prefer it if my brain did not age quite as fast :)

  18. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)

    I've been busy on vacation for the past week in Idaho -- that explains my silence. I am interested to hear that the two keyboards worked the way we predicted, even if it turns out you don't need them. (I had conceived the idea that you were deaf, also.)

    I'd like to add that I have very much enjoyed your eloquent writing style. I suppose you've had a lot of practice sending all that email!

    I think this is an excellent idea. However, to my knowledge, Siri will only work if the device has an internet connection.

    I was going to recommend an iPod Touch as they are much less expensive, but Siri would only work around home (assuming you have a WiFi router/internet connection) and perhaps at airports, libraries, restaurants, etc. that have free WiFi.

    With an iPhone, I believe Siri should work wherever the phone can "get on" the cellular phone network. I'm unsure of the cellular coverage in your location. Of course, you would have to pay periodically for cellular phone service.

    I experimented with our iPod Touch, and found Siri to be remarkably good at transcribing my dictation. I think it would work very well as an easily portable way to communicate with a deaf person. You ccould dictate a sentence or two, and pass or show it to your friend for him to read. He'd pass it back while speaking his response.

    In my experience, practically any app that shows a keyboard can use Siri for voice input. I played around using the standard "Notes" app. I did find some annoyances. For reference, we have a 5th generation iPod Touch (the type currently being sold by Apple) running iOS 6 (current iOS is 7).

    -- first, the transcription is not perfect (but I think it's good enough).

    -- after speaking a certain amount (of words, or of time, or both?), Siri cuts you off and transcribes what she has. It seems to happen after a few sentences or 20-30 seconds of silence. I don't know if this can be changed but I rather doubt that it can.

    -- you must speak the following words to get punctuation and formatting: period (or full-stop), comma, quote, hyphen, dash, "new paragraph", and "new line".

    -- I believe Siri connects to Apple servers as part of the process. Thus it is possible that your side of the conversation could be saved or intercepted by Apple (and thus by any U.S. agency with the power to force disclosure, e.g., the NSA). I imagine that the data is encrypted while over the 'net but I haven't looked into how it gets decrypted and whether Apple has access to the decryption keys.

    -- once I'd closed the note, I didn't see any way to continue adding to it -- you need to start a new one.

    -- visually, it helps to separate each set of sentences that comprises one of your inputs with one or more blank lines. The Notes app doesn't do that automatically for you. Get around this by saying "new paragraph" or tapping the return key after you're done speaking.

    The last two points could quite easily be addressed by an app written for this purpose (and perhaps there is one available).

    If using Siri doesn't work for you due to the internet connection requirement, you might look for a "stand-alone" app that takes dictation without using an internet connection. I imagine there are some available. It may well be less accurate or flexible, but you could use it with the much cheaper iPod Touch...

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