Language Accessibility in Self-Expression: 1000 Dreams x KUDO

KUDO provided live speech translation for Witness Change’s 1000 Dreams project on refugee storytelling through photography. Watch our video.

Everyone knows that time moves at 100 mph in a tech start-up. Sure, every ‘thank you’ email from a client offers a motivating reminder of the impact your solution is making, but when you’re wrapped up in day-to-day operations, it can be easy for even the most purpose-led teams to overlook that all-important ‘why’ at the core of the business.

So, when a wonderful charity reached out in search of a way to make their ‘1000 Dreams’ workshops language accessible through live speech translation, we jumped on the opportunity to support the charity and watch the KUDO mission in action. Video summary below.

1000 Dreams refugee workshops, New York

First off, what is 1000 Dreams all about? In the charity’s own words, it’s a creative project that focuses on narratives authored by storytellers with a refugee background—the unique journeys of 1000 refugees across Europe and North America. The objective? To put the lens of storytelling in the hands of refugees themselves; their dreams, in their own words (in this case, visually).

Having run these workshops successfully across Europe, the next stop for the charity was the Bronx in New York. For four days, participants from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and beyond were led through a series of exercises and photography lessons with a goal to capture each other’s unique stories and translate them to images.

With KUDO AI set up in the classroom, participants could access this content in the language of their choice by reading translated captions on their phone, or by listening to the translated audio. The addition of live speech translation nurtured a more authentic experience, and ensured that participants could join in the language they are most comfortable with.

This project hit close to home for personal reasons, too. That’s because when it comes to communication, few people know the importance of language more than KUDO’s co-founders.

Having all moved to the US and set up a successful business in a language other than their mother tongue, Fardad, Ewandro, and Parham were united in their conviction to create a world in which everyone can understand and be understood in their own language. Technology in the form of a platform for running multilingual meetings and events, a marketplace for booking 12,000 professional interpreters, and an AI-powered Speech Translator were the solution.

“Seeing the impact of language accessibility on the 1000 Dreams workshops was a personal career highlight,” explains Fardad Zabetian, CEO and co-founder of KUDO. “The work that they’re doing is commendable, and we were very happy to support them and add a further element of authenticity and individualism through language.”

And since a picture says a thousand words, we thought a short video from our on-site team would sum up this project better than anything.

For more information about the 1000 Dreams project, head to their website.