Microsoft to add key features to Teams to help people with hearing loss

Microsoft Teams logo with shapes around it in the various colors of the Teams logo

Microsoft added several useful features in Teams in the last couple of months, and it is hard at work to bring more in the future too. The Redmond giant is set out to bring some accessibility features for people with hearing loss to help them in Teams meetings.

Microsoft intends to add Sign Language View and always-on captions in Teams meetings in the next month.

As per the description given on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap page, Microsoft Teams will "prioritize up to two other participants' videos for sign language in meetings." These videos will be visible even when the content is shared.

Microsoft has not explained how the functionality will work on Teams. Its competitor Zoom already has support for Sign Language Interpretation in meetings and webinars. In Zoom, meeting and webinar hosts can designate multiple participants as sign language channel interpreters so that participants can have options to choose from multiple sign language interpretations.

Sign language in Teams

Zoom introduced the capability last month. The timing was perfect, as September is Deaf Awareness Month. Microsoft clearly lost an opportunity to launch these key accessibility features at a time when most people would have talked about it, but better late than never.

Microsoft has promised general availability of Sign Language View in Teams for Windows and Mac devices in November, but it can get delayed, like the arrival of Dark Mode for Word for the web.

Source: Microsoft

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