Microsoft Garage launches Group Transcribe, a live transcription and translation app

Four screenshots showing different aspects of the Group Transcribe app

Microsoft Garage - a division inside Microsoft that's focused on creating experimental and innovative projects - has launched a new app called Group Transcribe, as spotted by MSPoweruser. Like many other Microsoft Garage projects, Group Transcribe is a slightly different take on a fairly common basic concept. In this case, that's live transcription and translation.

You can find plenty of transcription apps out there like Google's Live Transcribe, but those will only use the phone of one user, and because of that, you might not always get the most accurate transcriptions due to audio distortions. Group Transcribe allows multiple users, such as meeting participants, to create a shared transcription session across their devices. Using the microphone on each of the users' phones, the app can more clearly understand each one.

Meetings are then transcribed on-screen in real time and saved so you can search through the meeting later. The app can also translate multiple different languages in real time, so participants can speak more freely in their native languages, rather than everyone having to speak English. Group Transcribe supports "languages in 80+ locales", which means it might not be exactly 80 languages. These include Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cantonese, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Latvian, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, Thai, and more.

Naturally, the transcription and translation features rely on machine learning and AI, which users can contribute to by choosing to share their conversation data. By default, Microsoft won't store data from these sessions after they're over.

The sad news in all this is that Group Transcribe is only available for iOS, so if you're an Android user hoping to try it out, you're out of luck. There's always a chance we'll see an Android version later on, but nothing has been announced yet.

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