What is the preview message feature?
If enabled, this feature uses "speech to text" technology to translate the content of each voicemail message into text. However, you must always listen to the message to hear the actual content.
Why isn't it accurate?
Speech to text translation is much more difficult than text to speech, given the many variables that it has to overcome. The accuracy may improve as the technology advances, but it will likely never be 100% reliable. There are a number of factors that contribute to how well it is transcribed, from the audio quality of the recording to the speech itself. Low volume or interference on the line can affect it, as well as any accents, mannerisms, or enunciation elements of the person speaking.
If it isn't accurate, then why provide it?
The preview is provided to give you a clue as to the content of the message, and particularly the urgency, which helps you to prioritize your response. For example, if you are in a meeting and can view messages but not immediately listen to them, you can respond accordingly. Later, you can listen to the message to hear the actual content.
I find it distracting, is there a way to turn it off?
Yes there is. From within Outlook (software version), select the FILE tab from the top menu. Click on the Manage Voice Mail option. This will launch OWA (Outlook Web Access). Log into your account, and it will take you to the Phone/Voicemail section. Under the Voice Mail Preview section, de-select the option "Include preview text with voice messages I receive" then select Save.
To access directly from Office 365 OWA, select Options, then See All Options. Select the Phone tab on the Left, then Voice Mail. Under the Voice Mail Preview section, de-select the option "Include preview text with voice messages I receive" then select Save.