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Skype to aid real-time transcription and AI captions in early 2019

Dec 4, 2018, 7:00 am

Coinciding with the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Microsoft is taking a step forward in making Skype more accessible with the launch of live call captions and subtitles. By launching a real-time translation and transcription feature for PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft is bringing the features with a big benefit for those who rely on assistive technologies every day.

The caption and subtitle feature enabled during video calls may also be beneficial to a wider population of Skype users, ranging from foreign language speakers or those who want to verify what was just said on a call in an area of spotty coverage where the audio feed may be cutting in and out.

Starting this week, PowerPoint captioning and subtitling features, which were previously available through the Presentation Translator add-in, will begin migrating to PowerPoint proper with support for 12 spoken languages and 60 text languages. Captions and subtitles can be turned on with a simple toggle, either for a single call or for all calls. If you’re in a call, you can switch the setting on by selecting the “+” icon and toggling “Turn subtitles on.” If you want to use them in every call, you can head to the “Calling” section of your Skype settings and pin “Show subtitles for all voice and video calls.”

In this release, Microsoft stated that captioning will auto-scroll during your call, but additional viewing options will be arriving with a future update. The captions and subtitles will be available through Skype version 8 on Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, and Windows, as well as Skype for Windows 10, although the rollout might take a while. The company also says it’s planning to roll out translations for more than 20 languages, but that’ll happen in the “coming weeks.”

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