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Festival of Light and Unity: Enter-Link’s New App Weaves Lantern Festival Spirit with Innovative Language Integration

Hong Kong, China – In the spirit of unity and renewal celebrated during the Lantern Festival, Enter-Link introduced an innovative language application at a community-focused event at Hong Kong Baptist University named “Integrating Voices: Bridging the Spoken and Silent Worlds”. This event, which gathered service-learning students, teaching staff, industry community partners, and language service professionals, showcased the app’s key objective to overcome communication barriers through state-of-the-art spoken and signed language solutions. The vibrant occasion combined festivity with innovation, reflecting the festival’s ethos of integration and cooperation.

 

The app is the culmination of rigourous research and development, designed to dismantle communication barriers by providing intermediate spoken and signed language services. It exemplifies knowledge transfer from industrial research to practical applications, with Enter-Link collaborating with NGOs, educational units, social enterprises, and businesses to deliver custom language services that address the specific needs of the community.

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Dr. Janice Pan, Enter-Link’s founder and Associate Dean (Research) at the Faculty of Arts at HKBU, envisions the app as a milestone in digital advancement, harmonising knowledge transfer, student engagement, and the fusion of signed and spoken language communities. “The Lantern Festival embodies societal harmony, and Enter-Link mirrors this ideal by creating a platform where technology meets human needs, encouraging a seamless exchange of communication for everyone”, said Dr. Pan.

Dr. Pan emphasised the app’s integration of signed and spoken language services, heralding Enter-Link as a pioneer in the digital provision of language services. The platform facilitates instant, user-based matching services between language specialists and users, significantly benefiting community partners and vulnerable groups.

 

The Enter-Link app, designed with an ergonomic and user-friendly interface, features just three buttons for easy service access, making it accessible even for the hearing impaired. This simple design ensures users can effortlessly navigate the app and quickly find the assistance they need.

 

The launch event, “Integrating Voices”, underlined the app’s central mission of integration, bringing together a diverse group of individuals in the collaborative spirit of the Lantern Festival.

 

Enter-Link’s achievements have garnered support from the Innovation and Technology Commission and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, along with several other awards and recognitions from entities such as Google and Hong Kong Baptist University. The app integrates advanced large language models for translation and interpreting, with the aim of achieving seamless human-machine interaction that taps into the latest developments in AI and specialised LLMs. This goal is an ambitious frontier in the app's evolution, reflecting Enter-Link's commitment to innovation. The app is further distinguished by its proprietary, meticulously annotated corpora, laying the groundwork for its extensive multilingual capabilities.

 

This community launch also commemorated a six-month collaboration between Enter-Link and its close community partner, LetSignLanguage.

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Mr. Herman Wong, founder of LetSignLanguage, commented on the app’s significance in assistive technology, stating, “Before Enter-Link, there was no such remote digital platform integrating 7/24 sign language interpreting services in Hong Kong”. This innovation marks a significant step towards digital inclusiveness.

 

The government’s endorsement of digital inclusiveness is instrumental in merging technology with community services, advancing Hong Kong towards a future where all citizens can participate in an inclusive society. Enter-Link stands as a leading exemplar of this vision, focusing on technological innovation in language communication and the growth of the assistive technology market to better serve individuals with special needs.

 

Recent official data reveals that language accessibility issues remain largely unresolved, with the actual situation more critical than it may seem. With only 56 sign language interpreters available for thousands of individuals who need assistance, and over half a million people with disabilities in Hong Kong requiring improved language services, the communication gap is stark. Past events, such as the unfortunate passing away of a deaf-mute patient after a visit to Kwai Chung Hospital in June 2020, have highlighted the urgent demand for better language services.

 

Enter-Link’s initiative reflects a significant commitment to collaborative engagement and has built strong connections with a variety of community stakeholders, thus greatly enhancing the user experience for people of all abilities.

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