Home Microsoft Tips and Tricks New PowerPoint Translator Makes Captioning Possible

New PowerPoint Translator Makes Captioning Possible

by Miguel Guhlin

New web-based translation services make captioning easier. Microsoft now includes captioning in its Office suite as Powerpoint combines with Microsoft Translator to create powerful learning opportunities for students.

Why Captioning Matters

While Powerpoint Translator has great features, let’s reflect on the reasons why captioning is a PreK-12 education necessity.

  • Captioning is required by law. Relevant law includes Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act . Both require captioning on student-available educational video. This can be critical for hearing-impaired learners. For PreK-12 public school students, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires equal access to education. This makes captioning educational video a requirement. (source).
  • Captioning helps non-native speakers. There are 4.6 million English Language Learners (ELL) in public schools.
  • Captioning improves reading comprehension, retention, and focus. Same language subtitling can improve student attitude, engagement, and reading proficiency levels (source).
  • Captioning makes your presentation more searchable. Adding subtitles to your work makes content searchable on the web as search engines index your subtitles. This makes it easy for others to find ideas matched to their search terms.

Let’s discuss the changes Microsoft has made to PowerPoint.

Key Features

The PowerPoint Translator add-in has these features:


  • Real-time subtitles to presentations in any of the 10 supported speech languages. Supported languages include Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
  • Subtitles can be shown in the presenter’s language. This supports accessibility scenarios.
  • Subtitles may be seen in any of the 60+ languages.

Audience Interaction

  • The audience can use their own device as long as it is equipped with the Microsoft Translator app (Android | iOS).
  • The audience can follow along. Presenters can use a QR or five letter conversation code. This allows them to participate in a multi-language Q&A.
  • The add-in learns technical terms, acronyms, and special names. It does this by scanning the content of slides/notes. The add-in presents jargon to the audience.
  • Up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along in their own language. They may use their own phone, tablet, or computer.


  • Translate the text of PowerPoint. This preserves the original formatting,
  • Languages (left-to-right, right-to-left) can be translated from one to the other.

Make Learning Accessible

Powerpoint Translator makes subtitling automatic and closed captioning possible. How will you use these Microsoft tools to transform learning in your classroom?


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