A teacher pointing to a projected screen in a classroom

Lectures & Presentations

Create an inclusive and interactive classroom experience with the Translator apps

Live transcription with Presentation Translator

Why use Presentation Translator for live captioning?

Presentation Translator is a PowerPoint add-in for Windows that provides live transcripts of a teacher’s lectures in many languages including English. These subtitles enable deaf, hard of hearing students, and language learners to follow along and participate in group discussions using a personal computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Student participation
Unique to Presentation Translator for PowerPoint is the ability for students to join from their own devices, in their own language, using the Translator app’s conversation feature. For example,  teachers can present in English, and students can join in one of over 60 languages.

Additionally, students can also ask questions in their language by simply typing or speaking (if their language is supported). Class discussions are more interactive and inclusive with both Presentation Translator and the Translator app.

Transcripts of every lecture
Transcripts are generated from both Presentation Translator for PowerPoint and from the Conversation feature in the browser. You can choose to save transcripts and share them with students.

Custom Speech Service (CSS)
Presentation Translator also offers a service called Custom Speech Service (CSS), an AI-powered technology that learns and adapts to the speaker’s vocabulary – such as technical terminology associated with a specific subject area (such as chemistry or history). CSS improves the quality of the speech recognition. This can be done automatically with one click using the content of the slides and slide notes.

This feature is available for all of our supported speech conversation languages. To see if your language is supported, visit the languages page.

Language learners and DHH

By using the Microsoft Translator conversation feature, students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) can follow live, classroom conversations by reading discussion transcripts. Students can also ask questions from their own device by pressing the microphone button or typing into the conversation window.

Language learning students can ask questions in their language by speaking or typing, and can follow classroom discussions by receiving transcripts in their own language.

Students see all comments in their native language and can also see them simultaneously in the language of the classroom. Bilingual transcripts aid student language learning and comprehension.

Microsoft Translator for Education: Communicate with StudentsLearn how Microsoft Translator can be used to help teachers better communicate with students who are non-native speakers, deaf or hard of hearing, dyslexic, or having trouble taking notes.

Translated captions and student interaction

Learn how Microsoft Translator can be used to help teachers better communicate with students who are non-native speakers, deaf or hard of hearing, dyslexic, or having trouble taking notes.

Microsoft Translator in the ClassroomWill Lewis, Principal Technical PM for Microsoft Translator, demonstrates how the Translator live feature and Presentation Translator add-in for PowerPoint can be used to provide live transcription and translation in the classroom.

Live translation for non-native speakers

Watch how a group of visiting Chinese students react when they use the Translator conversation feature to join a lecture discussion.

Case study

Learn how ELL student Jose passed his final exam with the help of Translator’s conversation feature.

Presentation Translator checklist

  • Windows 8 or later, and PowerPoint 2013 or later. Presentation Translator works on Windows only.
  • Download the Presentation Translator add-in
  • WiFi or cabled Internet connection. Cabled is preferred, because wireless tends to get slow when students join the conversation from their devices.
  • Wear a microphone. Presentation Translator works best when you wear a mic that sits close to your mouth. See the list of recommended headsets
  • Want to customize your content using Custom Speech Service (CSS)? Allow for a minimum of 5 minutes before the lecture so customization can complete before the presentation. Currently, CSS supports 11 speech languages. See the list of supported languages
  • If you’re presenting to a multilingual classroom or for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, ensure that students have brought their own devices: phones, tablets, or laptops.
Get started with Presentation Translator

How to start a lecture

1. Wear a headset
Presentation Translator works best when the presenter wears a mic close to the mouth, since it reduces the background noise and effect of reverberation while speaking. If the presenter uses the microphone built into the computer, the transcribed speech might suffer. List of recommended headsets

2. In PowerPoint, select “Start Subtitles”
The presenter starts the presentation by selecting Start Subtitles, a button available under Slide Show on PowerPoint’s ribbon. If you do not see the Start Subtitles button, Presentation Translator is not installed.

3. Ask students to join the conversation
Using the Translator app or the Conversation feature in the browser, participants can type or scan the conversation code that the presenter provides. The QR or conversation code will be displayed in an opening slide that is created when Start Subtitles is selected (unless turned off). At this point, students will select their language before entering the conversation.

4. Lecture commences, with captions and translations
The lecture commences, with subtitles showing on the screen, and transcripts and translations appearing on connected devices. If anyone comes to the presentation late, they can join at any time, either by entering the room code into their device, or scanning the QR code from other participants’ devices.

Watch the following video to see a successful presentation using Presentation Translator. This video contains snippets of talks with live captioning, and also shows the Q&A session at the end.


Presentation Translator in ActionThis video contains snippets of talks with live captioning, demonstrating the use of Presentation Translator, a Microsoft Garage project. In addition to live captions, audience members were able to follow along on their own device, and ask questions through their device.

Recommended headsets

Tips for presenters

Hold the microphone close to your mouth.

  • Focus on proper articulation (no mumbling) and pause between sentences so the system can catch up (it waits for a pause to finalize the translation). If you follow these two principles, there is no need to speak slowly.
  • Avoid very short or very long sentences. The system (both for speech recognition and translation) uses the context of a full sentence. By providing more context, you will increase the chances for both to
    work better. Ideally, sentences between 5 and 15 words are perfect.
  • If you’re bilingual, don’t switch languages. Presentation Translator
    will only understand the language you chose.

Q&A mode is off by default.

If  someone in the audience has joined the conversation on their device, hover over the transcript window and enable Q&A mode. At that point, the audience members can speak or type into their phones, in their language, and the transcript and translation will show on the PowerPoint screen.

Presentation Translator time limit is four (4) hours.

The moment you start subtitles in PowerPoint, you have 4 hours until the transcribed presentation ends.