NEW: Microsoft’s Presentation Translator Translates Presentations in Real Time

By Sharyn Fitzpatrick, Editor

Creativity and ingenuity have fostered some great ideas that drive our lives today. Microsoft continues to challenge its community to find innovative applications for its products. At the recent Microsoft Build 2017 conference, the focus was on using Microsoft AI to “amplify human ingenuity”. Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Microsoft AI and Research spoke to the audience about how the ever-changing landscape of technology innovation. He said, “Thanks to the convergence of three major forces — increased computing power in the cloud, powerful algorithms that run on deep neural networks and access to massive amounts of data — we’re finally able to realize the dream of AI.”

What is inspiring about Microsoft’s approach to AI is how easy they have made it for all levels of technical skills from that experienced designer to students in a classroom. Fostering innovation is one of the cornerstones of Microsoft’s out-of-the-box projects coming from “The Garage”, an internal resource that supports and encourages problem-solving in new and innovative ways. This is a worldwide initiative with a community of thousands of employees who push the envelope of technology, creating new and exciting solutions to every-day problems. A robust product management process and team back it.

One of the most exciting new releases is an Office add-in for PowerPoint – Presentation Translator. Using Microsoft’s Translation API for real-time translation in multiple languages during any PowerPoint presentation, presenters can display translated subtitles in one of more than 60+ supported text languages as they speak. Additionally, up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language, and on their own phone, tablet, or computer.

Key Features

  • Real-time subtitling: Speak in any of the 10 supported speech languages – Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish – and subtitle into any one of the 60+ text translation languages.
  • Customized speech recognition:  The accuracy of speech to text and then, the translation of the content is critical for the add-in to be effective.  Using Microsoft Cognitive Services’ Custom Speech Service,  the add-in will use the content of both your slides and your notes to learn any jargon, technical terms, names of people and places, or acronyms you may be using in your presentation so that they appear correctly for the audience. It also transcribes audio streams into text suitable for display to a user. Transcription includes adding appropriate capitalization and punctuation, masking profanity, and normalizing text.
  • Translate PowerPoint Text: Translate the text of PowerPoint while preserving the original formatting, including translation between left-to-right and right-to-left languages
  • Audience Participation: Share a QR or five letter conversation code and your audience can follow along with your presentation, on their own device, in their chosen language.
  • Open up to multi-language Q+A: Unmute the audience to allow questions in any of the supported languages (10 for spoken questions, 60+ for written ones)
  • Inclusivity through Accessibility: Give the deaf and hard-of-hearing the opportunity to join the presentation without the need for a physical interpreter with closed captions.

Powered by Microsoft Translator live feature, the audience can use their own device to follow what the presenter says, translated into their own language.

Which languages are supported with Presentation Translator?

In its current iteration, the service supports Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. While the focus here is on translation, you also could use the same service to caption a presentation for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The list of supported speech recognition (presenter) languages and translation (subtitle, slides translations and personal device real-time translations) languages include:

Afrikaans Filipino Klingon (plqaD) Serbian (Cyrillic)
Arabic Finnish Korean Serbian (Latin)
Bangla French Latvian Slovak
Bosnian (Latin) German Lithuanian Slovenian
Bulgarian Greek Malagasy Spanish
Cantonese (Traditional) Haitian Creole Malay Swedish
Catalan Hebrew Maltese Tahitian
Chinese Simplified Hindi Norwegian Thai
Chinese Traditional Hmong Daw Persian Tongan
Croatian Hungarian Polish Turkish
Czech Indonesian Portuguese Ukrainian
Danish Italian Queretaro Otomi Urdu
Dutch Japanese Romanian Vietnamese
English Kiswahili Russian Welsh
Estonian Klingon Samoan Yucatec Maya
Other Language Lists:

To learn more about  the other language lists – Conversation (speech) Translation, Neural Network (NN) Powered Languages, and all-text translations – click here


Presentation Translator opens communication channels to wider audiences where joining the conversation is possible, regardless of their language. If you travel abroad for work and need to present to local country audiences, this could change the way you communicate. Breaking that language barrier enables everyone to hear your message and understand it in their language, whether it is your content or just instructions on how to participate. You make that connection with your audience in their language which makes them more comfortable. In today’s world, our diverse audiences are multi-lingual and having the option to share the content in multiple languages at the same time is a key for our future.

We can’t wait to see what’s next!

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