Announcing funding for Spanish voice engine
July 17, 2023
DUBLIN, IRELAND – Today, SoapBox Labs, the voice AI company that powers accurate and equity-driven learning experiences for kids, announced new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a Spanish language voice engine to support the needs of millions of young literacy and language learning students across the U.S.
More than 11 million young children, or 33 percent of all U.S. children under the age of 9, are dual language learners. In 2020, Spanish was the most commonly reported home language of English Language Learners (ELLs), representing 7.8 percent of all public school students in the US, a figure that is closer to 20% in states like Texas and California.
“Investing in the power of our voice technology to support the next generation of dual language learners is a critical step towards addressing literacy gaps in the U.S., and around the world,” said Martyn Farrows, CEO of SoapBox Labs. “With this funding from the Gates Foundation, we look forward to working with our education partners to power more inclusive voice-enabled tools and systems to support children of every age, accent and background on their learning journeys”.
With this funding from the Gates Foundation, we look forward to powering more inclusive voice-enabled tools and systems to support children of every age, accent and background on their learning journeys.Martyn Farrows, CEO of SoapBox Labs
Built from the ground up for young voices and educational use cases, SoapBox’s voice technology can accurately understand children’s unique speech patterns as well as differences in accents or dialects, down to the phoneme level. SoapBox-powered early literacy and language tools can automatically and accurately analyze each phoneme – or utterance – a child makes, returning to teachers the immediate and longitudinal data they need to pinpoint individual challenges and personalize their support and instruction, across large numbers of students. SoapBox is the first and only automated speech recognition solution to receive the Prioritizing Racial Equity in AI Design Product Certification by global education nonprofit Digital Promise.
This new Gates Foundation funded project aligns with the foundation’s Global Access policy which aims to amplify the public benefit of innovative new education technology tools in a culturally responsive and child centered way, to deliver improved educational outcomes for all student users.
About SoapBox Labs
Founded in 2013, SoapBox Labs is an equity-centered, privacy-by-design voice AI company. Our proprietary voice engine has been built from the ground up to power accurate and equitable voice experiences for children ages 2 and up of every accent, dialect and stage of development. In the education space, our award winning voice engine powers preK-12 screening, practice, intervention and assessment tools for literacy, math and language learning.
By the end of June 2023, SoapBox had powered the learning tools of over 50 education companies and delivered more than 80 million learning experiences for young students globally. SoapBox is the first AI company to be certified for Prioritizing Racial Equity in AI Design by Digital Promise and the Edtech Equity project.
If you’re ready to voice-enable your preK-12 learning tools, speak with one of our Voice AI experts today.