Microsoft Translator Blog

Marlee Matlin Tests the Microsoft Translator Live Feature for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

Actress Marlee Matlin – known for her Oscar-winning performance in Children of a Lesser God and recurring roles on The West Wing, among other performances – visited the Microsoft AI and Research offices in November 2016 to discuss how the Microsoft Translator live feature could assist those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in situations where a sign language interpreter isn’t available.
Deaf since childhood, Matlin has been a fierce advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing. She has been a relentless champion in the fight for closed captioning to require streaming online video companies to offer this service or be subject to the same fines as traditional television broadcasters.
Thanks to her strong advocacy, streaming companies such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are now required to offer this service. It allows over 35 million Americans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing the opportunity to access content.
Matlin’s visit to Microsoft’s AI and Research offices was perfectly timed during the launch of Microsoft Translator’s live feature. It allows for two or more people to converse through text or speech, across many languages by using the Translator apps or a browser.
In the video, Will Lewis, a Principal Technical PM for Microsoft Translator, highlights the app’s use for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing while traveling, while Ted Hart, a Senior Research Software Engineer for Microsoft Research who is deaf, mentions how useful this feature was for him to participate in an impromptu meeting where immediate access to a sign language interpreter was not possible.
Watch the video for the full conversation about how the Microsoft Translator live feature could assist the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in real-life situations.


Learn more about the Microsoft Translator live feature:
Try the Microsoft Translator live feature at
Learn how to get started with the live feature using the app across devices.
Want to see the live feature in action? Check out the live demo.