On 3rd December, Skype announced that it was celebrating United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities by launching its new call captioning with live captions and subtitles feature.
Inclusivity & Accessibility
Skype says that this latest feature, which uses AI-driven captions, is part of its on-going work to make Skype more inclusive and make Skype calls more accessible to all.
How Does It Work?
The new live captions and subtitles feature works on a call-by-call basis through the in-call screen or can be set to activate by default under Settings > Calling > Call Subtitles > then toggle ‘Show Subtitles’ for all voice and video calls.
The feature works on the latest version of Skype for one-on-one calls with friends or co-workers, or to any phone number, as well as in group calls with a work team or friend group.
Currently, the captions and subtitles auto-scroll in your call, but Skype says that it will soon enable additional viewing options, including the ability to scroll through them in their own side window.
Skype says that the captions and subtitles will be optimised to be fast, continuous, and contextually updated as people speak.
Translations Into 20 Languages
Skype also says that in the coming weeks, it will be augmenting the live captions and subtitles feature further by releasing translations that support over 20 languages and dialects.
Microsoft – Introducing Captions and Subtitles For PowerPoint Presentations
Microsoft, which owns Skype, announced that as part of the same celebration of the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is introducing AI-powered captions and subtitles for presentations in real-time for PowerPoint.
Many Languages Too
Microsoft also announced at the launch, that the live captions and subtitles for PowerPoint will support 12 spoken languages and display on-screen captions or subtitles in one of 60+ languages.
Live captions and subtitles in PowerPoint will use AI, automatically adaptive speech recognition based on the presented content for more accurate recognition of names and specialised terminology, and the ability for presenters to easily customise the size, position, and appearance of subtitles.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
AI is the technology at the heart of these new features, and Microsoft is finding ways to utilise the technology to create many different value-adding and differentiating benefits to its services.
Accessibility is an important consideration and point of compliance for businesses, and these new AI-powered features can help businesses to communicate and present information in a more inclusive, accessible and engaging way.
Microsoft has emphasised that the new captions and subtitles feature joins many other accessibility features that it has introduced to Office 365, such as automatic suggestions for alt-text in Word and PowerPoint, expanded availability of automatic closed captions and searchable transcripts for videos in Microsoft Stream, plus enhancements to the Office 365 Accessibility Checker.