Microsoft’s in-house incubator, Microsoft Garage has announced the launch of Group Transcribe – a free, transcription app for in-person conversations. The mobile app is currently available for iOS devices and will roll out to Android phones after receiving user feedback. The Group Transcribe will compete against popular offerings such as Google Recorder and Otter.ai that offer similar service. However, the Google Recorder currently runs only on Pixel phones, while Otter.ai mainly offer services behind a paywall. Microsoft says that the latest app uses a multi-device approach to provide real-time, high-quality transcription and translation, so users can be more present and productive during in-person meetings and conversations. The Group Transcribe is also aimed at users with hearing disabilities.
To use the Group Transcribe app, the user would first need to initiate the meeting on the own smartphone. Participants can then join the meeting via Bluetooth, a scannable QR code or by sharing a link. Once the session begins, the artificial intelligence (AI) will start fetching captions that will get saved automatically within the app. In a blog post, Microsoft says that users can leverage real-time transcription to speak across different languages and make meetings more inclusive.
The app is said to support several languages in over 80 locales, and enables “people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or non-native speakers to participate more fully by following along with the live transcript.” The company cautions that each participant will need to ensure that the phone is within arm’s reach for the highest quality experience. Some of the languages that the Group Transcribe support 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, Turkish, and more.
In an FAQ, Microsoft says Group Transcribe does not have a limit to how many people can join a transcription, but it notes that the app works best for “in-person meetings [with] up to four people.”