As of May 12, 2021, Xbox Insiders are able to make use of a new accessibility addition that has been implemented to Xbox Party Chat that allows the system to support transcribing speech into text and synthesis of speech from text.
Announced through a blog post (via Tara Voelker) the feature is now available for those who are a part of the Xbox Insider program. A way for Xbox users to gain early access to products and features that may still be in testing stages before being rolled out to the public.
For text-to-speech, enabling this will allow the player to type into text chat and have it digitally read out to the rest of the party. Additionally, this supports several voices per language.
For speech-to-text, all spoken words from party members are transcribed into text with each of the players’ name alongside their text. The text is presented in an overlay that appears on top of the game and can be adjusted.
Player’s that are part of the Xbox Insider Program will be able to enable these Xbox Party Chat accessibility features through the Settings area under Ease of Access and then Game and chat transcription. Although, when in a party, Options > Configure Ease of Access settings is another way to enable them.
As Xbox highlights in its blog post: “Either one of these features (or both working together) can be used to help gamers who are deaf or hard of hearing and/or cannot or choose not to speak to participate in Xbox Party Chat without special accommodation from others in the party.”
At current, it’s unclear when the Xbox Party Chat accessibility features will become available to the public, but for now, if you’re an Insider you can start using the features.
Recently, Xbox launched a new Xbox Wireless Headset which we reviewed for deafness and hard of hearing impressions, the headset being able to allow players to shift the audio focus on the game, or the voice communications of different games. Additionally, it comes with filters to improve clarity, so hopefully, if players do use this headset in a party, then the speech-to-text may be clearer with picking those comms up.