Introducing KIKI, The World’s First Text-to-Sign Translation Engine Designed to Enhance Accessibility for Emergency Alerts

The revolutionary avatar was designed by NHK Enterprises Inc. and NHK Global Media Services, a division of Japan’s Public Broadcaster, in collaboration with global marketing company Media.Monks

NEW YORK, May 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — S4Capital’s operating brand Media.Monks, a digital-first marketing and advertising services company, partnered with NHK Enterprises Inc. and NHK Global Media Services, a division of Japan’s Public Broadcaster, to create the world’s first text-to-sign translation engine for emergency alerts. KIKI is a lifelike virtual avatar designed to generate dynamic Japanese Sign Language (JSL) interpretations from text inputs for public distribution in real-time. KIKI generates JSL disaster messaging for the Deaf community in less than 10 seconds, taking into account the language’s unique syntax, the importance of pausing, and the evocation of emotion not conveyed through closed captions.

There are more than 300,000 people in the Deaf community in Japan, a region with one of the highest earthquake risks in the world. Closed captioning on emergency alerts doesn’t capture the same meaning, word order, or emotion for those who communicate primarily through sign language. For the Deaf community, transcribed spoken word is an entirely different language than sign language. During an emergency, closed captioning alone requires them to translate an entirely different language as they read the alert. That’s why NHK Enterprises Inc. and NHK Global Media Services sought to address this lack of accessibility and linguistic diversity during emergency alerts in Japan.

In collaboration with JSL experts, including professors from Tsukuba University of Technology, NHK Enterprises Inc. and NHK Global Media Services built an extensive database of JSL signs through motion capture technology with unprecedented accuracy and realism.

Media.Monks brought KIKI to life through advanced 3D technology, giving her natural human characteristics and a personality to enhance the experience with lifelike quality and resolution that fosters trust and inclusivity. From there, Media.Monks designed a cutting-edge web platform to dynamically translate plain text into expressive, lifelike sign language videos delivered in real-time through KIKI’s hyper-realistic personality.

During the January 1, 2024, 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Japan, the innovative system developed by Media.Monks communicated life-saving emergency alerts in JSL across the region, enhancing accessibility and inclusivity on a wide scale. In Spring 2025, KIKI will become the first ambassador at Tokyo’s Deaflympics.

Future iterations of KIKI could leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to capture sign language more efficiently and reduce costs, allowing further adoption and driving accessibility on an even greater scale. Through the power of AI and machine learning, KIKI can be trained in other sign languages, including American Sign Language and European Sign Language, with unparalleled speed and efficiency, opening doors for global impact.

“KIKI underscores NHK’s commitment to inclusivity by showcasing how creativity, technology, and social responsibility converge to address real-world challenges.” said Takashi Koyano, Corporate Officer Digital Solution Center at NHK Enterprises Inc. “Part of our ongoing mission to create a more inclusive and accessible world, KIKI represents a new era in digital innovation to reshape human connection with transformative impact. We are thrilled to partner with Media.Monks on the world’s first text-to-sign engine, and bring the conversation around sign inclusivity to the forefront of the broadcast industry in a way we never thought possible before.”

“KIKI stands at the forefront of accessibility innovation at scale” said Jordan Cuddy, EVP, Global Head of Experience at Media.Monks. “We are proud to partner with NHK to develop KIKI, a beacon for future innovation that proves how technology can bridge communication gaps and enhance accessibility for traditionally underserved communities. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible with technology, and in developing KIKI that mission was even more meaningful because we addressed a complex societal challenge.”

About Media.Monks
Media.Monks is the global, purely digital, unitary operating brand of S4Capital plc. Since 2021, Media.Monks has combined diverse solutions—media, data, social, platforms, studio, experience, brand and technology services—to serve as a consultative partner integrating systems and workflows that deliver unfettered content production, scaled experiences and data science fueled by AI and the industry’s very best talent and teams.

Media.Monks was named a Contender in The Forrester Wave: Global Marketing Services. It has earned a constant presence on Adweek’s Fastest Growing lists (2019-23), ranks among Cannes Lions’ Top 10 Creative Companies (2022-23), and earns continual inclusion in AdExchanger’s Programmatic Power Players (2020-23). It has also been named Adweek’s first AI Agency of the Year (2023). Business Intelligence has recognized Media.Monks in its 2024 Excellence in Artificial Intelligence Awards program in three categories: the Individual category, Organizational Winner in AI Strategic Planning, and AI Product for its service Monks.Flow. Media.Monks has earned the title of Webby Production Company of the Year (2021-23), won a record number of FWAs, and a spot on Newsweek’s Top 100 Global Most Loved Workplaces 2023.

About S4Capital
S4Capital plc (SFOR.L) is the tech-led, new age/new era digital advertising, marketing and technology services company, established by Sir Martin Sorrell in May 2018.

Our strategy is to build a purely digital advertising and marketing services business for global, multinational, regional, and local clients, and millennial-driven influencer brands. This will be achieved by integrating leading businesses in three practices: Content, Data&digital Media and Technology Services, along with an emphasis on ‘faster, better, cheaper, more’ execution in an always-on consumer-led environment, with a unitary structure.

The S4Capital Board includes Rupert Faure Walker, Paul Roy, Daniel Pinto, Sue Prevezer, Elizabeth Buchanan, Naoko Okumoto, Margaret Ma Connolly, Miles Young and Colin Day as Non-Executive Directors.

The Company now has approximately 7,600 people in 32 countries with approximately 80% of net revenue across the Americas, 15% across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 5% across Asia-Pacific. The longer-term objective is a geographic split of 60%:20%:20%. Content currently accounts for approximately 60% of net revenue, Data&digital Media 25% and Technology Services 15%. The long-term objective for the practices is a split of 50%:25%:25%.

Sir Martin was CEO of WPP for 33 years, building it from a £1 million ‘shell’ company in 1985 into the world’s largest advertising and marketing services company, with a market capitalisation of over £16 billion on the day he left. Prior to that Sir Martin was Group Financial Director of Saatchi & Saatchi Company Plc for nine years.

Media Contact:
Sarah Murray, 402-658-9341
[email protected]

SOURCE Media.Monks

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/introducing-kiki-the-worlds-first-text-to-sign-translation-engine-designed-to-enhance-accessibility-for-emergency-alerts-302159505.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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