Skype is primarily designed to enable vocal and visual communication. Unfortunately, this somewhat limits the usefulness of the software for people with hearing impairments. To support those users with hearing impairments, Skype includes a subtitling feature that can add subtitles to a call, live.
Subtitles are a big accessibility feature for people with hearing impairments, however, Microsoft saw an opportunity to take the functionality a step further. The subtitle feature can perform live translations from 60 different languages and output captions in eleven languages. This feature allows you to converse with people without having to share a language.
Tip: Any voice recognition or translation service will have issues and should not be relied on for 100% accuracy.
Combining the live subtitling feature for those with hearing impairments with the translation functionality is an impressive feature, that is enabled by Microsoft’s cloud services. The cloud service uses machine learning algorithms to learn from the data you provide during use. This may concern some privacy-conscious people and means that you may want to avoid using the service to discuss sensitive topics.
How to enable subtitles in Skype
Enabling subtitles in Skype is simple. To do so, first, click on the triple-dot icon in the top-left corner of the main Skype window, then click on “Settings” in the dropdown menu.
In the settings, switch to the “Calling” tab, then click “Call subtitles”.
In the subtitle settings, select your preferred language with “Spoken language”, then enable subtitles by clicking the “Show subtitles for all calls” to the “On” position.
Tip: Enabling “Only show subtitles for other participants” might be a good idea, as it will prevent what you say from showing up in the subtitles.