I have been waiting for Microsoft to offer transcriptions of meetings for a while now. It has finally hit General Release. You can now not only record the video and audio of a meeting, but also get a text copy of what was said. Microsoft Teams knows who is speaking and it attributes the speech to them in the transcript. This is a logical extension of the Live Captions that we have had for a while. Since Microsoft has moved the saved recording from Microsoft Stream which did this, it was a natural fit to add this now.
Some Limitations Right Off the Bat
Before you get into the cool stuff let me make sure we understand some of the limitations. Some of these will likely change over time as Microsoft adds new features and you can read the final word here.
- Only for Scheduled meetings not in a channel (not in Meet Now as an example)
- Works only for English
- On the Desktop version not the Web at this time
- In GCC no speaker attribution (not at all in GCC-High or DoD)
- Only with E3 or E5, Business Standard & Premium (not Business Basic)
Turning on transcription in a meeting
Turning on transcription in a meeting is really simple. Its right next to the Live Captions, so in the Meeting Bar you click on the Open Menu (…) and then down near the bottom there is an option to Start Transcription.
After a bit, Microsoft Teams will display the Recording indicator. Teams also display a note to inform you that you should let everyone know you are recording. They will see this as well, just like with an audio/video recording.
Using it in a meeting
Once you are in the meeting, the transcription window will appear on the side. If you open up Chat, Notes, or Participants then they will overlay the transcription. Get it back (or hide it) by using the More Actions (…) menu.
Stop the transcription using this as well. If you do stop it, and start it again in the same meeting (or a recurring one) it will treat it as a totally different transcription which can be very useful.
Finding it after a meeting
Microsoft has also released the new Meeting Recap screen which adds a Recordings and Transcripts option to it. This allows you to see all of the recordings and transcripts for a meeting. If there are multiple, it will display the date of the recording on the side. This helps if this is a recurring meeting as one example. If you go to the meeting in your Chat rail, you will see a link to the transcription:
This makes it easy to find by linking it to the meeting. It doesn’t appear that you can search inside of the chat right now, however, you can download it and then load it into a Team or other location and it would then be indexed. The transcript itself is easy to read and includes the name, time, and photo of the speaker.
What about retention?
I assume this is treated as a regular Teams Chat message and will be deleted if you have a retention policy set. I cannot confirm this right now and the Microsoft documentation on Teams Retention does not mention transcripts and if they are retained or not.
Last Thoughts and What’s Next
I am looking forward to my podcast recording later today where I plan to use this feature so that we can get a transcript of our episodes that I can post here to make it easier to find specific things that we talked about. I was recommended that by Christian Buckley years ago, and I think that Microsoft finally has made it easy for me.
What does the future hold for transcriptions? Well, for one, I suspect that translations are out there. Live Events and Microsoft PowerPoint already does that. Microsoft wants to make that part of Live Captions and adding that to transcriptions should work. I suspect we will see a few languages at a time added when that comes out. A limiting factor is the compute costs for Microsoft in doing the translations, but it shouldn’t be much more to add translations to speech to text.
Adding search capabilities would be a massive advantage. How often has someone told you something in a meeting and you cannot remember where or when? Enabling search inside of transcripts will be a major improvement and stop having to download the transcript and adding it to a team as an example.