Microsoft’s Presentation Translator translates PowerPoints in real-time

A new Microsoft Garage project demonstrated at the Build 2017 developer’s conference allows presenters to translate what they say in real-time.

Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and research group, introduced the PowerPoint add-in among other new AI services such as Bing Custom Search, Custom Vision Service and Video Indexer.

In the demonstration, Shum and principal program manager lead Yina Arenas showed how the feature works by speaking in Spanish and Mandarin and having it translate live into English for the audience to see in the form of closed captions at the bottom of the screen — though the Mandarin translation was less successful than the Spanish, requiring Shum to repeat himself multiple times.

Additionally, the add-in lets users translate the text on their PowerPoint slides previous to the presentation, without the use of voice.

To use the add-in, presenters must download Microsoft’s Translator app and then sync it to a PowerPoint file.

Presentation Translator is now on preview on the Microsoft Garage site by invitation, and a company representative told MobileSyrup that a public preview is on its way near the end of this month.