by Keegan Noxell
In response to an emerging need for automatic captioning on virtual meeting platforms, a Dutch technology startup, SpeakSee has developed AutoCaption, a user-friendly solution for use on devices running Windows.
With the shift to online learning and remote work, the need for accurate, real-time captions on platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom only grew larger for those within the deaf and hard of hearing community. Additionally, most platforms require (or initially required) a paid account to access this all-important accessibility feature, which proved to be a barrier for some just looking to stay connected with friends and family.
In March of 2020, Jari Hazelbach, co-founder of SpeakSee realized his deaf father was struggling to participate in virtual meetings and decided to act: “We decided to take action quickly and developed a proof-of-concept with the team, which my father has been using successfully ever since.”
How it works
SpeakSee AutoCaption works on any device running Windows. Once this simplistic software application is installed, it integrates seamlessly by layering over any program to provide captioning. It can be positioned anywhere on your screen and sized to suit your needs. A bonus, AutoCaption is available in various languages beyond English, something not readily available on all platforms.
It doesn’t have to end there, as AutoCaption can be used to caption any online video content you wish to view on your device. With the program open, any audio detected by the device will be captioned in real-time, providing greater access to content not captioned by the creator.
The application can be tried for free (for a yet to be determined period of time) and will be available with a monthly subscription thereafter. As for deaf and hard of hearing persons who may not be able to afford this, you may be in luck as SpeakSee plans to offer a free subscription.
So, the next time you have a meeting where captioning isn’t readily available, don’t fret and give SpeakeSee AutoCaption a try – allowing you to enjoy catching up with colleagues, friends and family for a change.