Microsoft has announced support for sign language view, a new meeting experience in Microsoft Teams that helps signers – people who are Deaf/hard of hearing, interpreters, and others who use sign language – keep one another prioritized on centre stage, in a consistent location, throughout every meeting.
Sign language view is a first step toward addressing several asks from the D/HH community, including:
- Keeping interpreters and other signers’ video feeds in a consistent location,
- Ensuring that video feeds are an appropriate shape and size for sign language to be visible,
- Empowering participants to have up to two other signers in view throughout each meeting, and
- Reducing repetitive meeting setup tasks like pinning interpreters and turning on captions at the start of each meeting.
When sign language view is enabled, the prioritized video streams automatically appear at the right aspect ratio and at the highest available quality. Like pinning and captioning, sign language view is personal to users and will not impact what others see in the meeting. And it adapts to whatever your needs are: you can enable sign language view on the fly in a meeting or as a setting that persists across all your meetings.
Other participants can also be pinned or spotlighted without encroaching on the sign language interpreter.
When someone shares content in the meeting, the prioritized signer video shifts positions, but remains high quality and at a larger size than the video feeds of other participants.
Microsoft has also made accessibility preferences sticky. In the new Accessibility pane in the Settings menu you can turn sign language view on by default across all your meetings, and pre-identify a set of preferred signers that you work with inside your organization on a regular basis – for example, your regular interpreters (or for interpreters, your regular clients). The pane also provides an option to toggle captions on across all your meetings. Setting these preferences in advance makes it easier to join calls more quickly, so you can catch those first few minutes of chitchat or dive right into a deeper conversation.
Sign language view and the accessibility settings pane are currently available in Public Preview, and will be rolling out to GA for the Teams desktop and web clients for commercial and GCC customers in the coming weeks. Public preview can be enabled on a per-user basis, though the option to turn on public preview is controlled in an admin policy.
For detailed instructions on how to enable, please refer to Public preview in Microsoft Teams on Microsoft Learn.