Microsoft's Teams goes native on Apple, retains a human touch

It's been a busy week for Microsoft Teams, as the Windows giant unveiled a version of the platform optimized for Apple Silicon as well as simplified human language translation for scheduled meetings.

The Cupertino combination has been a while coming. After all, Apple's chips have been around for a while now and Microsoft was quick to push a universal build of its Office productivity suite out of the door. Heck, the company even went native with OneDrive earlier this year but Teams? Stick to Rosetta 2 and Intel emulation.

However, users that simply must run the full-fat Teams client on their shiny new M1 and M2 Mac will be delighted to learn that a production grade, universal binary version of the platform has arrived, although rollout is being done in increments. This means that there might be a few more months to wait until your turn arrives.

It has been a lengthy wait for the application, but after almost two years, what is the odd month or so?

Live translation - with the help of human interpreters

Apple Silicon aside, Microsoft also announced a method, devised with the Welsh government, to allow designated interpreters to translate what is being said during a scheduled Teams meeting, with attendees able to choose which language they wanted to listen to in real-time.

Teams has long had the likes of Live Captions and this feature is a handy stop-gap until the machines can take over more of the duties of humans (although Microsoft did not wish to comment on its roadmap or plans for the future.)

Liz Leigh Bowler, Modern Work Go-To-Market Lead at Microsoft UK told The Register: "The translation feature that the Welsh government will deploy enables human interpreters to provide spoken translation services in real time on scheduled Teams calls. The government is able to work with translation provider Cymen, to ensure that translation is seamless without interrupting the flow of the call."

Dispensing with interpreters performing translation duties with the aid of a telephone line in favor of sticking within the same app on the same device will certainly make the whole experience less intrusive.

It also heartening to see that, while AI and ML continue to make inroads into areas of life hitherto untouched by silicon fingers, there remains a need (and the capability) for the human touch even on the most recent of messaging platforms. ®

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