Hyperconnect: Breaking down language barriers in video chats

Hyperconnect’s mission is to expand every person’s ability to connect with others without the limitations of time, language and distance, in hopes of connecting people of different backgrounds to help grow worldwide cultural understanding. To do that, the Korean-based company launched the Android and iOS social discovery app Azar in 2014. Azar matches users from around the world by connecting them instantly through video chat, which enables them to create a more personable, face-to-face relationship. Since its launch, the app has been downloaded more than 60 million times in over 200 countries and 19 languages. Currently, Azar completes 30 million matches per day, and half of those matches are with people who speak different languages. Hyperconnect wanted to expand Azar’s capabilities and facilitate easier communication across languages to truly connect people across the cultural divide. With Azar, Hyperconnect is expanding into a new area of messaging apps by creating meaningful virtual connections that extend beyond text-based conversations.

“People are constantly separated by barriers of time, language and distance. From these barriers conflict arises from misunderstandings of culture, religion and language. We want to connect people around the world and create the opportunity to learn more about other cultures from first-hand knowledge. We turned to Google Cloud Speech API and Google Cloud Translation API to help people understand each other when video chatting in Azar, even if they speak different languages.”

— JH Kim, Vice President of Business Development, Hyperconnect

Creating new connections across the language barrier

In a world with over 6,500 languages, Azar is trying to connect users by removing the language barrier. Currently, when a cross-language match happens, users are only able to communicate via text messaging. Hyperconnect wanted to make it easier for Azar users to make new international friends by helping them communicate even if they don’t speak the same language.

To do that, Hyperconnect chose Google Cloud Speech API, Google Cloud Translation API and Google Cloud Messaging. Cloud Speech API converts speech into text, which is sent in a stream to Google Cloud Translation API. Google Cloud Translation API translates the stream, and Google Cloud Messaging then sends the translated text to Azar, which displays it in a speech bubble. Conversion and translation is instantaneous, so the flow of conversation is natural and without delays.

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“We foster approximately 30 million matches a day, and half of those matches are between people who speak different languages. We realized that we had to add real-time translation to Azar to make it easier for our users to create deeper relationships with their new matches. Cloud Speech API helps us do that,” Kim says.

Increasing user satisfaction, making face-to-face communication easier

The instant translation feature is still in testing on the Android app, and has not yet been introduced into the iOS version. Based on initial results, the Hyperconnect team expects the translation feature to create deeper and more meaningful cross-language matches since communicating will be much easier. With Cloud Speech API and Google Cloud Translation API, users can see and hear their match instead of simply see them type. When users communicate via text, they lose the emotion conveyed through verbal communication and facial features and reactions don’t exist.

With Cloud Speech API, the company expects increased user satisfaction — as well as a growth in the number of matches per day and longer, deeper conversations. All users are now able to connect without the worry of miscommunication.

“Google Cloud Speech API is helping us accomplish our core mission: to help anyone, anywhere communicate with others, no matter what language they speak,” Kim says.