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Old 03-26-2020, 04:54 PM   #1
Steve Rindsberg
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Default Captioning for presentations

I recently spent the better part of a week at Microsoft conference that was converted at the last minute from in-the-flesh-in-Redmond to all-virtual,all-online. Nowhere near as fun as being there with friends, colleagues and acquaintances (and partying with them at end of day) but beat the heck out of having the whole thing canceled. Kudos to MS for pulling it off with way more style and grace than we had any right to expect, given the short timeframe.

Our session leaders used a lot of PowerPoint presentations (our particular group being composed of PPT geeks and PPT being the lingua presenta in that part of the world). For most of the sessions, the presenters used a relatively new feature of PowerPoint, one that "listens" to the presenter and creates subtitles in real time, on the fly. What made it especially useful in our case was that we had attendees from Japan and Korea, some with minimal English comprehension. With a few clicks, the presenter could switch from English subtitles to Japanese or Korean.

Other than one presenter who had a very strong accent, the English subtitles were quite good. The quality of the Japanese/Korean ones was marginal but it allowed the non-English speakers to follow the fairly technical presentations. They do mention that J & K are "preview" languages ... not fully supported at present, but they're working on it.

Info about that here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...rs=en-us&ad=us

Unfortunately, we could only choose one language at a time, so the Koreans and Japanese had to take turns, session by session. And it requires Windows 10.

But it takes a turn into the cloud and gets more interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzfqwn05Lzg

This lets you provide a short URL and/or a QR code to your audience. They can view your presentation, as you present it, on their laptop, tablet, phone and at their option turn on automatically generated text of what the presenter's saying. In their choice of language. My Japanese friend who attended the meeting tells me that the Japanese is better than the subtitling I mentioned above.

More on this and some other features here:

https://educationblog.microsoft.com/...collaboration/

We live in interesting times.

   
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Last edited by Steve Rindsberg; 03-26-2020 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Correct mistake, add more info
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:52 PM   #2
terrie
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>>My Japanese friend who attended the meeting tells me that the Japanese is better than the subtitling I mentioned above.</i>

My guess is that the auto-gen text for the url/qr approach is based on the presenter having submitted the text prior to the presentation? If so, then yes, the subtitles will be more accurate.


Live-captioning is generally fraught on a number of levels as in if there is actually a human captioner they very rarely have precognative ability ('-}}) so they have to wait until someone says something to be able to caption it so there is a lag between spoken and caption and, for auto-gen'd captions if there is no voice-training used on the part of the presenter to train the software to one's manner of speech, then the captions can be anywhere from fuckedup to hilarious to totally incomprehensible.


All in all...it sounds pretty nifty...thanks for the urls...I'll take a browse...




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Old 03-29-2020, 09:08 AM   #3
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>> My guess is that the auto-gen text for the url/qr approach is based on the presenter having submitted the text prior to the presentation? If so, then yes, the subtitles will be more accurate.

No, it's all done live, in real time. The only text is whatever the presenter says aloud.

>> Live-captioning is generally fraught on a number of levels as in if there is actually a human captioner they very rarely have precognative ability ('-}}) so they have to wait until someone says something to be able to caption it so there is a lag between spoken and caption and, for auto-gen'd captions if there is no voice-training used on the part of the presenter to train the software to one's manner of speech, then the captions can be anywhere from fuckedup to hilarious to totally incomprehensible.

Oh yes, yes indeed. Because we have a Japanese woman living with us, I always put English subtitles on for Netflix movies, even when the movie is in English. And usually forget to turn them off. They're done by a human, I think, but almost always a human with limited vocabulary who mis-hears things.

And when you're in a restaurant or bar ... used to be or will be soon we hope ... not now ... and the TV's tuned to the news but the volume's down so you have to depend on the captions that come on screen in little spurts of hilarity ... yeah, right there with ya.

But this stuff from MS is all done by AI, no human hands ever touched this text. And the AI's getting pretty darned smart.


All in all...it sounds pretty nifty...thanks for the urls...I'll take a browse...

   
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Old 03-29-2020, 01:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
steve: No, it's all done live, in real time. The only text is whatever the presenter says aloud.
Very interesting then...


>>I always put English subtitles on for Netflix movies, even when the movie is in English. And usually forget to turn them off. They're done by a human, I think, but almost always a human with limited vocabulary who mis-hears things.

First...just for clarity...they likely are not "subtitles" but rather they are "closed captions"--the difference is that "captions" in addition to the spoken word, also caption sounds (phone ringing, door closing, running feet, sighs, crying etc.). Subtitles are just the text of the spoken words. Do you see info on sounds? If not, then yes, they are subtitles but if sounds are captioned, then they are closed captions.


Sorry...being pendantic yet again...'-}}



>> And usually forget to turn them off. They're done by a human, I think, but almost always a human with limited vocabulary who mis-hears things.

I've never seen Netflix so I don't know how they approach captioning. On regular tv (vs. streaming) and not live tv, at the beginning or the end of the show, there may be a display of the captioning company name--more often show at the end of the show. It's very rare on regular tv for the captions to display the kinds of errors you mention but maybe it's just a crap captioning company?



>>and the TV's tuned to the news but the volume's down so you have to depend on the captions that come on screen in little spurts of hilarity ... yeah, right there with ya.

That's all live caption stuff and it can indeed be very funny.



>>But this stuff from MS is all done by AI, no human hands ever touched this text. And the AI's getting pretty darned smart.

I think the issue is speech patterns and how they can be so different...I can sometimes determine someone's accent by how the text of the caption (auto-gen'd) is spelled...




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Old 03-30-2020, 08:02 AM   #5
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>> Do you see info on sounds?
No, just the spoken words, so truly subtitles.

>> but maybe it's just a crap captioning company?
Some are better than others, some far worse. As to the latter, ain't no maybe about it; crap captioning company! ;-)

>> I think the issue is speech patterns and how they can be so different
For the stuff I've been watching/playing with, no question. We had one or two presenters with very pronounced Chinese accents; the AI seemed to have trouble with that. Lots more bloopers. On the other hand, the presenters with Indian accents didn't have that problem. The fact that MS has a huge dev presence in India might have something to do with this.

I did notice in playing around with this stuff that you can choose several varieties of some languages as the input language; IOW, you can choose British vs US English as the presenter's accent demands.

Ah, but what about Glaswegian? I give you the Voice Activated Lift:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAz_UvnUeuU

I know that w/o captioning it won't be much fun, but if you turn on the captioning, it's even funnier: Google's captioning doesn't understand Scottish accents any better than the lift does.

   
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Old 03-30-2020, 12:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
steve: No, just the spoken words, so truly subtitles.
Interesting...does Netflix give you a choice?




>>The fact that MS has a huge dev presence in India might have something to do with this.

Yeah...most likely...



>>IOW, you can choose British vs US English as the presenter's accent demands.

That's pretty cool...




>> I give you the Voice Activated Lift:

That was pretty good and...yes...the auto captions were pretty funny...



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Old 04-01-2020, 01:58 PM   #7
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>> does Netflix give you a choice?

Seems to depend on the movie; some have captions in just English, some in other languages, and you can turn 'em on or off whichever they have.

If there's a particular movie or movies you're interested in and they're on Netflix, I'll be happy to check.

   
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Old 04-02-2020, 02:46 PM   #8
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steve: Seems to depend on the movie; some have captions in just English, some in other languages, and you can turn 'em on or off whichever they have.
That sounds like what I would see on movie DVD's although it's been eon since I've watched a movie DVD. I always had to hunt around for the captions (sometimes labelled "for the deaf/hard of hearing")--if there were captions (vs. subtitles)--and it was annoying that there was no standard. The other thing I found VERY annoying was when the captions used the subtitle line which meant that if you zoomed, you lost the captions and they were less legible when they used that approach--captions conventionally use a "floater" line (line 24 if memory serves) so that when you zoom the film, the caption line "floats" and still displays...



>>If there's a particular movie or movies you're interested in and they're on Netflix, I'll be happy to check.

Thanks very much...I don't Netflix (or any other streaming options)...



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Old 04-03-2020, 08:18 AM   #9
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And for my part, I don't zoom. Strictly a low-end TV kinda guy.

   
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Old 04-03-2020, 02:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
steve: I don't zoom.
Given what I've read about Zoom's lack of security, that's probably a good decision...'-}}



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