Yesterday we looked at Dictation, Microsoft’s speech to text service that uses an online engine throughout many of the Microsoft Office Suite. Today we will look at another way that AI tool is utilized- live captions in PowerPoint. When you choose to turn on captions, PowerPoint will listen to what you say as you are presenting and show your words on screen as a running caption- like closed captioning on a television. Welcome to Day 42 of 365 Ideas for Office 365.
Starting Live Captions
There is no need to prepare anything ahead of time- just create your PowerPoint presentation as normal. When it comes time to actually deliver your presentation, click on “SlideShow in the ribbon.
Then click on “Start Subtitles”. (If you find that you like this tool, you can also check the “Always present with subtitles” box. When this box is checked, whenever you launch a slideshow, PowerPoint will prompt you to start subtitles now.)
When you click on “Start Subtitles”, a dialogue box pops up.
Settings and options
Here you can choose which language you are speaking in, and also which language you want the captions to be displayed in. PowerPoint recognizes speech in 12 spoken languages, and can display captions in 62 different written languages. (Disclaimer: one of those 62 languages is Klingon!)
This means that if the majority of your audience speaks the same language, but it is a different language than you speak, you can display that language instead of your own.
This is also where you can configure your microphone, including selecting which, if you have more than one available.
You will want to click on “Additional Settings” as well. This is where you can set the location that the captions will appear on the screen while presenting.
Audience viewing live captions on their own devices
Note that there is also a box to check to add a slide giving your audience instructions for viewing the captions on their own devices. Since this feature is all about accessibility, that’s a huge bonus to provide your audience the ability to view the captions near point rather than far point, so distance, obstacles, font size and viewing angles are not an issue.
It’s that easy. Now as you begin speaking, your words will appear on your slides, projected to your audience.
Use a Microphone!
It is very helpful, just as with dictation, to utilize a microphone rather than the one built into your device. Microsoft uses AI to produce the captions, and it is an online, just like the Dictation tool. SO it depends on hearing you clearly to produce the correct written text. If you are showing captions in a different language than the one you are speaking, I have found that the accuracy of the translation depends not so much on the accuracy of the Translation function, but more on the accuracy of the dictation. In other words, if it hears you clearly, it translates you correctly.