July 25, 2018 | GalaPro, the app created by the Israeli startup GalaPrompter, which provides smartphone users with subtitles in many languages, dubbing, and amplification services,will receive the prestigious Sapolin Award from the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, for its breakthrough technology helping people with visual or hearing disabilities enjoy theater and film performances, a statement said.
The award will given out by the mayor at an official ceremony at his residence, during the annual conference of the American Society for People with Disabilities on Thursday, July 26.
“We are excited and proud that the New York City recognizes the importance of accessibility and supports our vision for a world that is accessible and equal to all,” CEO Yonat Burlin said.
The GalaPro app can already be used at many Broadways shows including “The Band’s Visit,” and “Hello Dolly.” Its services will be implemented in all Broadway theaters by the end of 2018, according to Burlin, as part of an initiative to make Broadway more accessible to people with disabilities.
The 72nd annual Tony Awards in June featured the app, allowing the visually impaired to listen to a description of what was happening on stage and giving the hearing impaired a transcript of what the hosts were saying in real time.
According to the statement, the GalaPro app works with automatic voice recognition technology, enabling access to shows and movies using mobile phones. As it did for the Tony Awards, it includes transcripts and amplification services for the hearing impaired and voice description services for the visually impaired. All services are offered in a variety of languages.
The app also allows users to experience the event or ceremony without interrupting other viewers. Voice transmission is through headphones and text screens are not bright. The use of the phone is not noticeable during the show, the company says, as the app running the device not allow Internet surfing or receiving alerts.
GalaPrompter was founded in 2015 by Dr. Elena Litsyn and Hagai Pipko, and has offices in Tel Aviv and New York. It is currently expanding in North America, Europe and Asia.