Zoom provides a variety of options for adding captions to your Zoom meetings and webinars so participants are able to follow along. This can be used to meet accessibility requirements or to allow participants to follow conversations easily.
Zoom’s live transcription feature can provide automatic captioning through its closed caption settings, while a third-party closed caption service can provide manual captioning in meetings, or the host can provide the captioning manually or assign another meeting attendee to provide manual captioning. The same options apply to webinars, although the host or a panelist can only offer manual captioning. The captions can also be viewed in Zoom Rooms.
Please refer to the user guide if you would like more information on viewing closed captioning or live transcription.
Prerequisites for closed captioning and live transcription
- Zoom desktop client (enter or view captions)
- Windows: 3.5.37712.0111 or higher
- macOS: 3.5.37712.0111 or higher
- Linux: 3.5.37712.0111 or higher
- Zoom mobile app (view captions only)
- Android: 4.0.21521.0116 or higher
- iOS: 4.0.21521.0116 or higher
Live transcription service
- Zoom desktop client
- Windows: 5.0.2 or higher
- macOS: 5.0.2 or higher
- Zoom mobile app
- Android: 5.0.2 or higher
- iOS: 5.0.2 or higher
Limitations of real-time transcriptions
The live transcription feature is also available if you can’t provide captioning manually or via a third-party. However, there are limitations to consider. In order to provide accurate live transcription, several variables must be taken into account, including, but not limited to:
- Noise in the background
- As well as the speaker’s voice volume and clarity
- And their knowledge of English
- Dialects and lexicons specific to a particular region or group of individuals
Due to these limitations, if your meetings or webinars will require speech-to-text support for accessibility or compliance reasons, we recommend using a manual captioner.
Providing closed captioning can only be assigned to one participant or third-party service.
How to enable meeting/webinar captions and live transcription
You are able to enable or disable the closed captioning and live transcription services as the account owner or admin with privileges. With the Closed captioning option enabled, participants or third-party services, such as the host, may add closed captions or the host can type closed captions.
In order to learn more about how to enable or disable closed captioning and live transcription, please visit the support article.
How to start Closed Caption or Live Transcript in Zoom meetings
Zoom meetings or webinars can be captioned or transcripted by following these steps:
- If you have enabled closed captions or live transcripts in your Zoom meeting or webinar, select those options.
- You can choose between:
- The meeting participant is assigned the task of typing closed captions during the meeting.
- I will type:
- You can type closed captions manually in the closed captioning window.
- Copy the API token:
- To integrate closed captioning services with your meeting, copy the URL that you can provide to a third-party service.
- Enable Auto-Transcription:
- Allows the system to begin transcribing the meeting as it happens. Those attending will be informed of the availability of this service. If you enable this option in your web settings, it will be available to you.
How to assign a participant to type closed captions
Closed captions should be typed by:
- Participants can be assigned to type by clicking Assign to participant.
A window will appear with the list of participants.
- Hover over the name of the participant whose closed captions you want to type.
- Then click More.
- You will be prompted to assign captions.
In your meeting controls, you will see a notification once you are given the ability to type closed captions. To type closed captions, follow these steps:
- To close the caption, click here.
A box will appear.
- Type the caption here.
- When you’re done, press Enter.
How to use closed captioning in breakout rooms
In the meeting controls, participants can click Closed Caption to view closed captions after breakout sessions start. Our recommendation is that if you would like closed captions in breakout rooms, you should go through a third-party service.
Before a breakout room session starts, give the participant permission to type closed captions.
- There can be only one person assigned to type closed captions in a meeting; therefore, a closed captioned breakout session can only be held once.
- Breakout rooms do not support live transcription at the moment.
How to make participant requests to enable live transcription
You can also enable live transcription for your meetings and webinars as part of the registration process. Meeting controls offer this option, which eliminates the need to ask for it verbally or through chat, avoiding interruptions.
- As the host, start a conference call or webinar.
- Participants and attendees can request live transcription by clicking a button. You may not be able to see the name of the participant making this request because it can be made anonymously.
- There are several options available.
- Makes the meeting or webinar available for live transcription.
- We have declined the transcription request. Others may still submit requests.
- Turn you down and don’t ask again:
- No live transcriptions will be provided.
When using the Windows or macOS desktop clients, the host can also turn off the ability to make requests before any requests are made.
- As the host of the webinar or meeting, click Closed Caption or Live Transcript.
- Enable Turn off Live Transcript Request for participants. Attendees and participants would no longer be able to request a transcript.