To ensure that all citizens can continue to participate in civic life in our new hybrid world, online public meetings – from school board meetings to public hearings – need to be accessible. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve gotten some great feedback from the deaf and hard of hearing community about how Microsoft Teams could better support their needs in this space. While we still have some way to go on this journey, I am pleased to announce that CART captioning – one of the most-requested features for Teams in the public sector – has rolled out to desktop and mobile clients in GCC and will be coming soon to GCC-H and DoD.
CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) captioning provides “instant translation of the spoken word into English text using a stenotype machine, notebook computer and real-time software” (National Court Reporters Association). CART can be especially helpful in contexts that are challenging for speech recognition software, such as those with a lot of specialized terminology, or where participants speak with a range of different accents. For many public sector entities, it’s also a required accommodation.
Enable CART Captions in a Teams Meeting
CART works through an API that allows specialized CART software to communicate with your Microsoft Teams meeting. To use CART, the meeting organizer first provides an invitation and a special link to their preferred CART caption provider.
Use CART Captions in a Teams meeting
During the meeting, the CART caption provider transcribes the conversation in real-time. Any meeting participant signed into Teams using a desktop or mobile client can turn on captions by selecting “Turn on Live Captions” in the “More” menu at the top of a call. If a CART captioner is providing captions, those captions will be shown by default. Participants on desktop can toggle between CART and auto-generated captioning in the overflow menu within the caption area. Support for toggling between caption sources on mobile is coming soon.