Live Caption Your Next Presentation

Screenshots of Google Slides and MS Powerpoint

Live Caption Your Next Presentation

Both Microsoft Powerpoint and Google Slides now have live captioning, which is good news for your audience members who are deaf, hard of hearing, or understand written English better than spoken. We wanted to see how accurate these were, so we tested both.

For Powerpoint for Windows (PC only), you'll need to download the Presentation Translator add-on (see "Getting Started with Presentation Translator for Powerpoint" video for more). During testing, captions were about 85-90% correct (Microsoft suggests training the software on particularly difficult or unusual words, which may help.) The software attempted to detect sentences and apply rudimentary capitalization and punctuation. One feature we liked was the ability to save the live captions in a time-stamped text file for later distribution, as well as the option to record and save the slideshow presentation with both voice and captions.

In our tests, Google Slides (for PC or Mac) seemed slightly more accurate than the Powerpoint captions. However, Slides makes little attempt to add punctuation or capitalization. Also, there is no ability to record the presentation or save the live captions to the slideshow.

Our conclusion is that neither application was as accurate as we would have liked. However, in lieu of an actual interpreter, inaccurate live captioning is better than none at all, and both help to include audience members who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

When live captioning in front of an audience is the primary requirement, Google Slides may be slightly more accurate than Powerpoint. If you require a recorded version of your captioned presentation, then Powerpoint is the way to go.