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Microsoft is testing Xbox party chat accessibility features

·Associate Editor
·1-min read

Microsoft has announced that speech transcription and text-to-speech synthesis is coming to Xbox party chat, starting today for Xbox Insiders. The new features will make it easier for players with hearing or speech difficulties to participate in party chat and are part of an Xbox initiative to improve accessibility. 

Both features can be found in the "ease of access" tab under "game and chat transcription." With speech-to-text transcription, words spoken in a party are converted into text displayed in an adjustable overlay, as shown above. With text-to-speech enabled, anything you type into party text chat will be ready by a synthetic voice to the rest of the party, with a choice of several voices per language. 

Both speech-to-text and text-to-speech have been available for in-game transcription since 2017. At the time, Microsoft was the first major console-maker to implement a real-time chat transcription service. As with in-game transcription, the party chat version is primarily designed for accessibility, but could also be used if you don’t want to listen to audio or have difficulty understanding someone. 

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