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Real-time translation is coming to PowerPoint

By Ng Chong Seng - on 11 May 2017, 2:46am

Real-time translation is coming to PowerPoint

Buried among all the news about the new Office initiatives for developers and the new APIs in the Microsoft Cognitive Services is that Microsoft has opened up a registration of interest for its Presentation Translator add-in.

A tool developed by the Microsoft Garage team, Presentation Translator is an Office add-in for PowerPoint powered by the Microsoft Translator live feature that does real-time translated subtitles of multiple languages during any presentation. It is only available for Windows at the moment.

Presentation Translator doesn’t, however, actually show translated languages all at once on the slides. Presenters will have to use the Translator app and register it to a PowerPoint presentation first, and through the given unique link(s) would the audience then be able to see the transcriptions for their specific language. At this early stage, the service supports 10 speech languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. After translation, it can subtitle into any one of the 60+ text translation languages. Presenters are also given the option to customize the speech recognition engine using the vocabulary within the slides and slide notes to adapt to jargon, technical terms, product or place names, etc.

Additionally, the add-in can translate text in the PowerPoint slides while preserving the original formatting, including translation between left-to-right and right-to-left languages.

The benefits of Presentation Translator are pretty obvious: presenters can reach out to different language-speaking audience easily without doing any translation prep work beforehand, two-way communication between presenters and audience can also be done, and lastly, the closed captioning will come in useful when presenting to the deaf or hard of hearing.

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