One of the accessibility tools available on Android is Live Transcribe, an app that transcribes conversations in real-time, and it has recently gained a new feature that allows it to be used when there is no internet connection. Announced in 2019, Live Transcribe was developed in partnership with Gallaudet University in the U.S., the only university in the world where all the programs are created specifically to cater to the deaf or hard of hearing.

Live Transcribe supports real-time transcription of more than 80 languages. Users can also type their responses in the app instead of speaking aloud. The app also has an added feature called Sound Notifications that notifies users about important sounds in their home such as someone knocking, the sound of the bell or smoke alarm, or a baby crying. Live Transcribe is available to download on the Play Store but Google preinstalls the app on its Pixel phones. Some Samsung phones also come with the app out of the box.

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On March 3, 2022, World Hearing Day, Google announced that an offline mode for Live Transcribe would be launched in a few weeks. In an announcement detailing new features coming to Android apps, Google revealed that the feature had now been added to the app. With this, the app will still show transcriptions even when there isn’t an internet connection or when the connection is poor. Prior to the update, Live Transcribe would display a message saying the app is offline if there was no internet connection. The app was able to show sound events (coughing, sneezing, wind, whistling, etc.) but not transcriptions of a conversation. Now with offline mode, the app will still show a banner at the top informing the user that it is offline but transcriptions and sound events are still available.

Use Live Transcribe Without The Internet

Live Transcribe's offline mode only works with select languages

To turn offline mode on, open the Live Transcribe app. If it’s not installed on the device, it can be downloaded for free from the Play Store. Tap the gear icon at the bottom-left corner of the screen to open the app settings menu and then activate the Transcribe offline toggle. Users will also have to download the language(s) they want to transcribe offline before the feature can work. To do this, tap on Primary language under the app’s settings menu, then on the arrow in front of the desired language, and select the download button.

Unfortunately, it appears that not all languages can be downloaded offline. This means that if a particular language doesn’t have a download option, the offline mode will continue to be unavailable for now. This is similar to Google Translate’s offline mode which is also limited to select languages. However, it is expected that more languages will gain offline support for Live Transcribe in the future.