Slack Huddles has auto-captions but it’s unreliable and only for audio calls

Ben Bayliss2 minute read
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Slack has introduced auto-captions for its recently released Huddles, however, it’s just for audio calls.

Slack, a live-messaging application that’s fairly popular with businesses with large teams, recently introduced a new Slack Huddles feature. This feature is the company’s take on live audio calls and can allow up to 50 users. Slack Huddles also comes with auto-captions that automatically transcribes everyone’s audio and presents the text in a similar way to how a written message would be presented; with text, their name, and avatar.

While we first caught wind of this through Steven Spohn, COO of AbleGamers on Twitter, it was Morgan Baker, game designer at The Odd Gentlemen that brought our attention to the reality of the quality of this accessibility feature.

According to Morgan, the transcriptions are unreliable with incorrect words being presented to the team. Additionally, because this is entirely audio-focused, the features cannot be used with video, for example, similar to Google Meet’s captions system. Slack has had video conferencing available for some time now, so it’s surprising to see that captions only extend to audio calls.

Hopefully Slack decides to improve on this feature and extend it to video as deaf and hard-of-hearing folk may find it more accessible to be able to hear, lip-read, and read all at the same time. Additionally, it would be nice to see improvements to the quality of transcriptions. Not all the blame should go to Slack though, as users should ensure their microphones are set up accordingly to transmit audio in the best quality and speak as clearly as they can.

The company has had captions in the works for some time since last year when they replied to a user saying captions weren’t on the “immediate roadmap” but was in consideration. According to Slack, the feature is available to “all users and guests” but it is being rolled out slowly to paid subscriptions only for the time being.

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Ben
BaylissEditor-in-ChiefHe/Him

Ben is the one in charge of keeping the content cogs at Can I Play That? turning. Deafness means that he has a focus on discussing captions, but with experience in consultancy and advocacy, he covers what bases he can. Having written about accessibility in video games at DualShockers, GamesRadar+, GamesIndustry.biz, Wireframe, and more he continues his advocacy at CIPT. He was actually awarded a Good Games Writing award for an article he wrote here! He enjoys a range of games, but anything that’s open-world and with a photo mode will probably be his cup of tea. You can get in touch with him at: ben@caniplaythat.com

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