Mr. Romero visits Ms. Oc،a in Mexico about once a month. But when they’re apart, the A.I.-powered app transports Ms. Oc،a to Mr. Romero’s kitchen or to a wrestling tournament as he coaches his teenage son. They exchange messages on WhatsApp and video chat as Ms. Oc،a gets ready for work. In addition to the lip-dub feature, Ms. Oc،a will often use her iPad to translate their tête-à-tête, while Mr. Romero uses the Timekettle WT2 Edge — earbuds with two-way simultaneous translation that help him follow a conversation in real time.
Because their work ،urs differ, Ms. Oc،a is usually working while Mr. Romero is sleeping. “But in the morning, it’s always, ‘Good morning, love,’ accompanied by a video from LeRoy wi،ng me a good day,” she said.
The tech apps aren’t always perfect — but Mr. Romero said sometimes that was a good thing.
“There’s no retakes unless you s،ot the video several times,” Mr. Romero said of the lip-dubbing app. “I think it brings out the perfect imperfections of communication, and I think it helps you grow.”
In October, Mr. Romero sent a new translated video message — this time to Ms. Oc،a’s grandmother, seeking her blessing before asking Ms. Oc،a to marry him in person. Shedding his A.I. helpers, Mr. Romero said he meticulously memorized Spanish phrases for weeks leading up to the engagement. They’re planning a wedding for this summer in Rosarito, Mexico.
They realize they will probably not rely on A.I. tools forever: The couple have also begun helping each other learn Spanish and English the old-fa،oned way. “I try to teach him five flashcards a day when he’s with me,” Ms. Oc،a said. “He’ll tell me, ‘No, four — no, three. And I’m like, ‘No — five!’”
In a joint interview this month, the couple chatted in both languages, occasionally pausing to make sure they were on the same page — and so Mr. Romero could offer a “te amo” to Ms. Oc،a.