Skip Global Navigation

Ronaldo Tenório Freitas

Ronaldo Tenório Freitas was born in Maceió, in the Brazilian state of Alagoas and his specialty is strategic communications.

Today, around the world, there are more than 200 million people with hearing loss problems. Between deaf people and those who can hear there is a huge communication barrier, as they communicate with each other in different languages even though they live in the same country. In 2008, as a university student, Tenório came up with an idea for a tool to overcome that barrier and improve communication between those who can hear and those who cannot. But at the time he lacked resources and technology to bring the idea to fruition. So it was set aside for a few years.

In 2012, Tenório, Carlos Wanderlan Thadeu and Thadeu Luz teamed up to develop the idea with a platform for automatic translation of sign language. It works with Hugo, a friendly 3D interpreter that made it possible for the translations to be accessible with a variety of tools.

In 2013, the app for smartphones and tablets, which automatically converts sign language, was finally launched. The app lets people write, speak and even take photographs ( In a matter of months the app was a huge success, and so far more than 20 million translations have been done. Besides that app, Hand Talk ( features a tool for accessing any web site in sign language ( ). Special projects are also designed to take this new accessibility to companies (

The solutions have helped more than 10 million people in just 12 months and in Brazil alone.

Hand Talk was chosen as the most innovative project in Brazil at Rio Info in 2012. It has received similar honors on a larger scale: for all of Latin America in 2014 by the company Qualcomm Ventures, and as the best social app in the world, by the United Nations, at WSA-Mobile in 2013 in Abu Dhabi.

© 2017 Inter-American Development Bank - All Rights Reserved.

Hello, Welcome to the IDB!

Please join our mailing list by simply entering your email below.