Microsoft adds audio description and subtitles to Skype and PowerPoint

Microsoft adds audio description and subtitles to Skype and PowerPoint
Features aim to help those hard of hearing, learning a language or listening to non-native languages

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Microsoft is launching subtitles and audio description for Skype and PowerPoint in order to help those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those learning a language or those attending a meeting in a non-native tongue. The features were launched to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

According to a Microsoft blog post, Skype’s real-time captions and subtitles are designed to be fast and continuous, and users can re-read the transcript of the call at any time. Users can use the features on a single call or on each one they make, whether it’s a one-on-one or group chat. The features will also be available in over 20 languages. 

“Whether you’re learning a new language, having a tough time understanding your friend from across the world, or attending a meeting that is not in your native tongue, our new translations will help keep you up to speed,” a spokesperson wrote in a blog post. “Once you turn translations on through a simple setting toggle, you can read subtitles in the language of your choosing in every call.”

PowerPoint will also support captions and subtitles in 60 languages and 12 spoken languages, which will begin rolling-out in late-January.

Microsoft’s speech recognition technology will adapt based on the presented content for more accurate understanding of names and specialised terminology, while presenters can customise the appearance of subtitles.

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