Η microsoft announced on Monday that it captures live subtitles in two of its biggest products, PowerPoint and Skype. Regulated to coincide with the International Day of People with Disabilities in the United States, the move will facilitate communication between users with hearing or speaking different languages.
The feature offers simple and real-time subtitles while you speak.
Of course, Microsoft is not the only company that works or offers accessibility features for its consumers.
Apple iOS allows individual users to set up playback and subtitles, and there is also the ability to listen to content for those with visual impairments. There is also a guided control feature that allows parents or carers to ensure that people with autism or attention distraction problems remain focused on the task they perform by deactivating the Home button and parts of the screen to restrict other access points.
The Microsoft Accessibility Team is headed by Jenny Lay-Flurrie, head of the company's accessibility service, and one who understands how important these features are to some users. As a person who was almost deaf throughout her life, Lay-Flurrie also has the ability to take advantage of the caption capability that comes to PowerPoint and Skype.
According to World Health Organization, about 1 billion people in the world have some form of disability. And unfortunately, using a computer or smartphone is not easy for many of them.
By adding subtitles in real-time, Microsoft will be able to open PowerPoint and Skype and to people with hearing impairments.
Apart from hearing impaired, subtitles will also benefit those working with people who speak different languages thanks to real-time translations.
But there are millions of other users in the world who have disabilities not related to their hearing. That's why, as Lay-Flurrie says, the company continues to work on additional capabilities that will allow more people to use their devices without problems.
According to Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft takes care to incorporate accessibility features whenever it creates a new product. It currently includes technologies such as high contrast and magnifying glass for visually impaired people as well as the company's recent Xbox Accessibility Controller, not to mention that it is working on ALS accessibility and mobility technologies.
Microsoft says it will continue to develop the new caption and translation functions for PowerPoint, which will support 12 spoken languages and more than 60 subtitle languages at startup. On the other hand, Skype will support translation for 20 languages.
Service updates will be released for PowerPoint early in 2019, while Skype translation is available from Monday December 3.