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Google Slides automatically captions your presentations

The hard of hearing can follow along without extra effort.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 8, 2018
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If you want to caption a presentation for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, you typically have to do it yourself. Google might just save you that trouble -- it's launching an automatic closed captioning feature for Slides. Plug a microphone into your computer, hit a "CC" button and Slides will automatically caption your speech as you walk through the presentation. As the captions arrive in real-time, you don't have to worry about stopping on each slide to give your audience a chance to read.

The project was prompted by an internal hackathon where accessibility engineers Laura D'Aquila and Abigail Klein noticed that it was difficult for the hearing impaired to follow some presentations.

Automatic captioning will be available in Slides this week for users around the world in US English. While it's unclear how accurate the system will be in practice (YouTube's live captions aren't always on the mark), it should be a vital tool for making presentations more accessible. Google adds that it could even be helpful for people without hearing issues, since you could hold a presentation in a noisy hall without having to shout.

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