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New Microsoft Word feature enables audio transcription

Software giant, Microsoft, has launched a new feature that helps Office 365 users transcribe audio into words. The new tool named ‘Transcribe in Word’ is currently only available in the online version of Microsoft Word, but the company plans to extend it to other platforms later down the line.

The tool leverages Azure’s Cognitive Services AI platform to help users spend less time and energy transcribing work.

The product was announced in a blog post published by Dan Parish, Microsoft’s principal group product manager for natural user interface and incubation.

Parish said: “Whether you’re a reporter conducting interviews, a researcher recording focus group sessions, or an online entrepreneur recording informal discussions, you want to be able to focus on the people you’re talking to without worrying about taking notes and without having to spend hours transcribing your conversations after-the-fact. If that sounds like you, Transcribe in Word is here to help.”

The new feature allows users to record conversations directly into the web version of Word and transcribe them automatically. Microsoft’s new technology detects different speakers so that when a recording ends, the flow of the transcript can easily be followed.

Users will be able to revisit parts of the recording by playing back the time-stamped audio, and the transcript can be edited if any mistakes are noticed. The transcript will appear alongside the Word document, along with the record, enabling users to refer back to it when writing a new document.

The new feature supports .mp3, .wav, .m4a and .mp4 files. From the launch of the web-based tool, there will be some limits imposed by Microsoft.

Parish explained that there is currently a five-hour limit per month for uploaded recordings and that each uploaded recording is limited to 200mb. Live recordings, however, do not have this limit.

English is currently the only language supported by the feature, but the firm is working to support more languages. According to Parish, a mobile version of Transcribe in Word is set to launch later this year.

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