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Breaking barriers in local language computing with Microsoft AI

Be it an in-person conversation or a conversation with a computing device, it is only natural that people prefer to communicate in a language they grew up speaking. In India alone, a population comprising over 422 million native Hindi speakers struggle to use digital tools due to the language barrier.

At Microsoft, we are committed to democratize technology to enable more people to be able to use the powerful benefits of computing in their native language. Powered by AI, these features are breaking down barriers across devices, operating systems and applications. Here’s a look at how AI-powered features are helping millions of users across the country become more productive with powerful digital tools that support Hindi across Windows 10 and Office 365.

Dictate your thoughts in your language

Many of us speak our thoughts more fluently than typing. If you are one of them, the Dictate feature in Windows 10 can help you express your thoughts by dictating. With your cursor in any text field either in Windows 10 or in an app, simply press Win + H and start talking. To dictate in Hindi, you can install the Dictate plugin for Office 365 available from the Microsoft Garage store, which works in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Breaking language barriers is not limited to being able to express yourself in your language but also be able to reach out to others in languages they understand. Once you’ve dictated your thoughts, you can also translate them into more than 60 languages, including Hindi, with the Microsoft AI powered Translate feature and reach out to a wider audience than ever possible before.

Present to a diverse audience

Presenting to a multilingual audience is easier with the Presentation Translator in Microsoft PowerPoint. Presentation Translator breaks down the language barrier by allowing users to offer live, subtitled presentations straight from PowerPoint. As you speak, the Microsoft Translator live feature allows you to display subtitles directly on your PowerPoint presentation in any one of more than 60 supported text languages, including Hindi.

Presentation Translator can also translate all your slides while preserving its formatting. Clicking the ‘Translate Slides’ button automatically translates and changes the entire presentation to another language without changing the format of individual slides. The plugin currently supports text translations in Hindi, Bangla or Tamil for Indian languages. Powered by Microsoft AI, the plugin can help educators, business leaders, and policymakers among others to easily create multi-language presentations to reach a wider audience.

Ask Cortana to assist you with local language translations

Cortana, your own virtual personal assistant, can process Hindi translation requests in real-time. An English request for translation, such as “Hey Cortana, translate – how are you? – in Hindi,” will instantly generate “क्या हाल है?” Translations can be generated in either Devanagari or Roman scripts. With this ability, Cortana can serve as a virtual translation assistant for travellers and tourists who need to interact with locals in their native language. Cortana can translate into Bangla, Tamil, and Urdu in addition to Hindi.

Widening reach with multi-lingual accessibility

For native Hindi speakers with physical disabilities or unique preferences, the Hindi support is built into the Microsoft Narrator app for better convenience. Hindi language features in an accessibility-focused app help in breaking down both the language and disability barriers. Users with visual impairment can apply the screen reader to read and understand important government forms and applications.

Pen your thoughts in Hindi

With Windows Ink you can quickly turn your thoughts into action. You can edit Word documents, PowerPoint slides or take notes in OneNote. If you are a member of our Windows Insider program, we’ve added support for handwriting recognition for Hindi, which allows users to write in Devanagari script. The Microsoft AI-powered engine can interpret a wide range of handwriting styles to convert written texts into digital text blocks in many scripts including Roman and Devanagari.

Bridging the digital language divide is part of our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. At Microsoft, we are committed to using AI to democratize not just how people access but also how they use technology. With more convenient access to powerful tools that understand their language, Indian users can confidently leverage the power of computing to drive India towards a digital future.

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