Microsoft is powering Skype and PowerPoint with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, adding live captions and subtitles feature to Skype calls and PowerPoint presentations.
The call captioning feature will be available with latest version of Skype for one-on-one calls. These calls can be made to a friend, coworker, or to any other phone number.
Announced on United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the live captions and subtitles feature will provide a more inclusive experience to Skype community, especially for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“Skype has been hard at work at making our features more inclusive, and live captions & subtitles are just one way we made Skype calls more accessible,” wrote the Skype team in a blog post.
“Simple settings allow you to turn them on for a single call or keep them turned on for all your calls. Live captions & subtitles are optimized to be fast, continuous, and contextually updated as people speak.”
As of now, the captions and subtitles will automatically scroll in the call. Microsoft will add more viewing options, such as ability to scroll through the captions in side window. Skype team don’t want users to miss a moment, be it in a video or in the live subtitles.
In coming weeks, Microsoft will also introduce translations to Skype calls, with support for more than 20 languages and dialects. This will help all the users whether they are learning a new language, finding it difficult to understand the language of a friend, or attending a meeting in different tongue.
The translation feature will be available through a simple setting toggle. By enabling the feature, users will get to read translated subtitles in the language of their choice.
The live captions and subtitles feature will come to PowerPoint in early 2019, to make presentations more inclusive and engaging. The feature will provide real-time transcriptions of the spoken words of a presenter on a screen either in same language or in a translated language.
At the time of launch, PowerPoint will support people presenting in over 10 spoken languages. For showing subtitles and captions, the PowerPoint will support around 60 text languages.