Hi-Tech

Skype, PowerPoint become more accessible with live captions and subtitles

Skype, PowerPoint become more accessible with live captions and subtitles

Both PowerPoint and Skype will support live captions and subtitles, Microsoft announced in a blog post marking the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Microsoft is bringing real-time captions and subtitles to both Skype and PowerPoint.

To show our commitment towards inclusivity, we're also releasing translations that support over 20 languages and dialects in the coming weeks.




Microsoft promises that live captions and subtitles are "optimized to be fast, continuous, and contextually updated as people speak", and in the current incarnation they will automatically scroll during a call. The goal is to offer an alternative means of following a spoken PowerPoint presentation or participating in a Skype audio or video call. With Microsoft continuing to develop the platform though it's clear they want Skype to stay around for much longer - so expect to see many more feature updates coming in the near future. Initially, the captions and subtitles will support more than 10 spoken languages and more than 60 text languages. By enabling the feature, users will get to read translated subtitles in the language of their choice.

Although the latest features are pitched as making Skype more accessible to those with disabilities, they may have the added bonus of providing a transcription service for Skype calls, something that could be used by podcasters and video bloggers as well. The captions and subtitles auto-scroll for users who have opted to turn the feature on. To turn off, click on Turn subtitles off.

The company uses artificial intelligence to power the new feature and previously users had to download an add-in called Presentation Translator for PowerPoint to access subtitles. Select Settings, then Calling, and then Call subtitles.


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