Presentation Translator,
a Microsoft Garage project
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What Is Presentation Translator?

Presentation Translator, a Microsoft Garage project, breaks down the language barrier by allowing users to offer live, subtitled presentations straight from PowerPoint. As you speak, the add-in powered by the Microsoft Translator live feature, allows you to display subtitles directly on your PowerPoint presentation in any one of more than 60 supported text languages. This feature can also be used for audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Additionally, up to 500 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language, including the speaker’s language, on their phone, tablet or computer.
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Key Features

Live 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: Optionally customize the speech recognition engine using the vocabulary within your slides and slide notes to adapt to jargon, technical terms, product or place names, etc. Customization is currently available for English and Chinese.

Personal translations: 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.

Multi-language Q&A: Unmute the audience to allow questions from the audience on their device in any of the supported languages (10 for spoken questions, 60+ for written ones)

Inclusivity through Accessibility: Help audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing follow the presentation, and participate in the discussion.

Translate your presentation while preserving the slide formatting: Next to the "Start Subtitles" icon, the "Translate Slides" button allows presenters to translate their whole presentation while preserving its formatting.

How Presentation Translator Works

The Technologies behind Presentation Translator

Presentation Translator live subtitling is powered by the Microsoft Translator live feature, a personal universal translator that enables up to 500 people to have translated conversations on their favorite device through the Translator app or on the web at http://translate.it.

Want to view a demo of how to set-up Presentation Translator from start-to-finish? Check out the video below.

The Microsoft Translator live feature is built using Microsoft Translator core speech translation technology, the Microsoft Translator API, an Azure Cognitive Service.

In addition, Presentation Translator also integrates the speech recognition customization capabilities of Custom Speech Service (CSS) from Azure’s Cognitive Services to adapt speech recognition to the vocabulary used in the presentation.

Presentation Translator Video

Presentation Translator Video

How does it work?

What does custom speech recognition do?

By customizing speech recognition to your slides, you will see improved accuracy in the subtitles for that presentation, in some cases seeing up to 30% improvement in accuracy.

Presentation Translator improves the accuracy of your subtitles by learning from the content in your slides and slide notes, and therefore being more effective in recognizing the words you are likely to use while presenting.

Without customization, you might see inaccuracies in speech recognition when you use industry-specific vocabulary, technical terms, acronyms, and product or place names. Customization will reduce the errors in your subtitles for specialized vocabulary, as long as the words are present in your slide or slide notes.

The first time you customize speech recognition for your presentation, it can take up to 5 minutes for Presentation Translator to finish learning. After the first time, the subtitles will start instantaneously unless you update the content of your slides. Tip: start the custom speech recognition during a practice run so that you don’t experience delay when you are ready to start presenting to an audience.

How does the custom speech recognition feature work?

The custom speech recognition feature works by training unique language models with the content of your slides. The language models behind Microsoft’s world-class speech recognition engine have been optimized for common usage scenarios.

The language model is a probability distribution over sequences of words and helps the system decide among sequences of words that sound similar, based on the likelihood of the word sequences themselves. For example, “recognize speech” and “wreck a nice beach” sound alike but the first hypothesis is far more likely to occur, and therefore will be assigned a higher score by the language model.

If your presentation uses particular vocabulary items, such as product names or jargon that rarely occur in typical speech, it is likely that you can obtain improved performance by customizing the language model.

For example, if your presentation is about automotive, it might contain terms like “powertrain” or “catalytic converter” or “limited slip differential.” Customizing the language model will enable the system to learn this.

When you use the Customize speech recognition feature in Presentation Translator, your presentation content - including notes from the slides - is securely transmitted to the Microsoft Translator transcription service to create an adapted language model based on this data. Data used for customization is not de-identified and is retained in full, along with the adapted model, by the service for thirty (30) days from last use to support your future presentations and use of the language modeling.

Subtitling

When subtitling starts, Translator live presentation mode is activated which mutes audience members, ensuring speakers can present and subtitles are displayed on screen without interruption.

At the end of the presentation, the presenter can decide to save a transcript of the presentation (including audience participation) in a text file.

Settings Menu

1) Audience participation

As this capability is powered by the Translator live feature, by sharing the conversation code, it allows up to 500 people from the audience to join the conversation on their device in their preferred language.

2) Audience Personalization

Presenters have the option to choose how the subtitling will appear to the audience. It will automatically appear near the top of the screen for easy visibility for the audience, or it can be docked at the bottom of each slide.

Audience Q&A: When the audience is "unmuted" from the subtitle menu bar, audience members can join the conversation and comment in an interactive, multilingual Q&A session. The audience’s questions and comments will then display in the subtitle box in the presenter's chosen subtitling language.

Tips for using Presentation Translator

Audio/Visual Set-Up:

Before you get started, you’ll need:
  • A working microphone: We suggest using a Bluetooth headset so you can move around without restrictions.
  • PowerPoint for Windows: PC only. Make sure you do not have any Office applications open while Presentation Translator installs. Once installed, the add-in will update automatically each time a new version is published.
  • Internet connection: A hard-wired connection is ideal, but a reliable WiFi connection works well also.

How to Set Up Customized Content:

Depending on what you’re presenting you will probably want to customize how Presentation Translator “understands” your content.

Here are a few tips to set-up CSS:
  • Include all relevant content: Don’t forget your presenter notes! Before CSS “learns” your content, the content needs to be present within the slides or slide notes. Full sentences will be used for word contexts, so a full script of your presentation within the slide notes will be useful.
  • After you click “Start Subtitling”, a dialogue box will appear to set-up your presentation. Make sure to check the box that says “Personalize speech recognition” so it can customize your presentation speech model*. This will take 3 to 5 minutes depending on the length of your presentation.
  • Train in advance. Content, notes, and audio logs will be retained by the service for thirty (30) days from last use to support future presentations. You only need to train the system again if you have updated content or it’s past 30 days since the last training.


*Currently only English and Chinese are supported.

Microsoft Translator live feature:

Now that your audio, visual, and presentation content are ready to go, you can now start presenting! This is where audience participation can play a role - to expand the audience that understands your content, or invite them to comment in real-time in their own language.

Here are a few tips to set-up the Microsoft Translator live feature:
  • After you click “Start Subtitling”, a dialogue box will appear to set-up your presentation. Under "Additional Settings", make sure to check the box that says “Add instructional slide". This will explain to the audience how they can view subtitles on their own devices.
  • The add-in will then insert the instructional slide before the start of your presentation. These instructions will allow your audience to easily join the conversation (up to 500 people!) on their device, in their language.
  • You can choose to “unmute” the audience – allow comments directly from their device – or “mute” the audience so your presentation is uninterrupted. You can simply click “Audience Unmuted” towards the end of the presentation for an interactive Q&A session.


To see the live feature in action for a meeting, check out the demo video below.

Microsoft Translator live feature video

Microsoft Translator live feature video

Learn more about the technologies behind Presentation Translator:

Learn more about Translator live here and view our video for step-by-step instructions to get started.

Learn more about Microsoft Translator API here.

Custom Speech Service (CSS) is built using Microsoft Cognitive Service Custom Speech Service API. Learn more about this service here.
*Don’t worry, we won’t use any of your information for anything but replying to your question