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Microsoft PowerPoint is getting real-time captions and subtitles for presentations

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Available in early 2019

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Microsoft is adding real-time captions and subtitles to PowerPoint early next year. The subtitles and captions are designed to help support the deaf or hard of hearing community, and even allow speakers to include a translation of a presentation. Live captions and subtitles will support 12 spoken languages and display on-screen in more than 60 different languages.

The captions are based on Microsoft’s ongoing artificial intelligence work, and the company has been using similar software to power its own presentations in recent years to provide captions and translations to audiences. Presenters will be able to customize the appearance of subtitles to match a presentation, and the speech recognition should adapt for more accurate terminology based on context.

Microsoft had previously used an add-in to provide this type of PowerPoint functionality in the past, and Google also provides similar features in G Suite. Microsoft is planning to bring these features to the Office 365 version of PowerPoint in late January, and they’ll be available across Windows, PowerPoint for Mac, and online versions of PowerPoint.