Microsoft Corp. Photo: File

CAPE TOWN – Microsoft announced that it will be adding real-time captions and subtitles to PowerPoint early in 2019.

Microsoft said in a statement: " Live captions & subtitles in PowerPoint supports the deaf and hard of hearing community by giving them the ability to read exactly what is being spoken in real-time. In addition, captions and subtitles can be displayed in the same language or in a different one, allowing non-native speakers to get a translation of a presentation."

Live captions and subtitles will support 12 spoken languages and display on-screen in more than 60 different languages.

The company uses artificial intelligence to power the new feature and previously users had to download an add-in called Presentation Translator for PowerPoint to access subtitles. 

The feature set to come next year will be available on Office 365 version of PowerPoint for Windows, PowerPoint for Mac, and online versions of PowerPoint.

Users will be able to customise the appearance of subtitles to match a presentation, and the speech recognition should adapt for more accurate terminology and context.