Real Time Closed Captions or Transcripts


I am excited to share that Zoom has added an easy to use Closed Captioning option!  It is important to make online learning experiences accessible, inclusive, and a place where everyone has an opportunity to participate. Start with activating this setting in your Zoom Meeting account. Then communicate this option in your promotional materials, so people can ask you to activate the closed captions, ahead of time. If you only verbally make this available at the beginning of the meeting, those who require it, may miss the information. It’s also a good idea to also type in the chat the question and have the information on your first slide to offer accessibility accommodations. Take a look at how to use the real time closed captions and transcripts options available in Zoom via the video tutorial and steps described in this blog article.



Zoom closed captions



Variety of reasons to turn it on



Closed captions are helpful for those with hearing loss, however it can help if a person’s mic quality is not great, or if someone has an accent. Another reason why someone could benefit from having the closed captions or transcripts available is if they have to  have their sound off, or they remember the information if they are reading and hearing the content at the same time.



How to turn ON the Closed Captions in Zoom…


Before you start your meeting here’s what you need to do:


  • In your Zoom Account personal settings, you will need to scroll down past In Meeting (Advanced). [This is not the Admin Advanced.]  When you reach Closed Captioning, slide the activation over to turn blue can check the box ‘Enable Live Transcription’.   You can also enable “Save Captions” to save the transcript (optional).


  • We also recommend that you enable the “Non-Verbal Feedback”  and “Meeting Reactions”  so your attendees have the ability to communicate without interrupting the meeting by using the “Reactions” available (e.g. heart, clap, laugh) as well as other emojis.


  • In your Zoom App settings, open “Accessibility” and choose your CC font size for the captions (slide the bar to increase or decrease the size of font). Plus in the “Screen Reader Alerts” ensure that you have “Closed Captioning is Available” and “Closed Captioning Typing Privilege Granted/Revoked” checked under “Enable”. See second picture below.


In meeting subtitle settings

In a Zoom Meeting, click CC, then Subtitle Settings.



Zoom app accessibility settings



After you have started your meeting, you will then need to:


  • Look at the bottom of your screen for the Live Transcription button and click on “Enable Auto-Transcription”.  Please note that you have the ability to move the transcription box around on the screen.


  • You can also turn it off on the host screen so that the transcription isn’t distracting you while you are speaking but the attendees will all still be able to see it.


  • The participant’s control panel will allow them to “hide subtitles”, “show subtitles” or “view full transcript” in case they have missed anything.  Note that the transcript will only show for the time that they have been logged in to the meeting.  They can also click on the button at the bottom of the transcript window to “merge” to the meeting window and move the window to the sidebar.


  • They can also click on the “subtitle settings” choose their CC font size for the captions (slide the bar to increase or decrease the size of font).


  • Don’t forget to communicate about the option of Zoom Closed Captions before your meeting, through promotion. This gives people the opportunity to ask you to turn on Zoom Closed Captions.  Plus share this information verbally, text in chat and text on the first slide, so that people who need the option are aware of it.




the word Transcript on a computer keyboard



Reasons to use Closed Captioning:


  • We want to be as inclusive as possible and ensure those with hearing loss are able to access all of the information that we are sharing in our meeting.
  • There might be a technical issue with speakers or sound on a tablet, computer or phone.
  • Some people might want to read instead of listening to the meeting due to privacy issues.
  • Perhaps they are in a crowd and are unable to hear due to the noise around them.



Bonus Tips:

  • You may want to ‘turn off’ the ‘Save Transcript’ option in your account settings. This will protect Intellectual Property. If you are not recording the video, it also prevents any language that (hopefully was not said), to be recorded.
  • The Saved Transcript, if you do save it, does not include the names of who spoke, but does separate each speaker.
  • The live transcript does show who is speaking, including their picture (if applicable).
  • Bad words are not ‘bleeped’ out in the transcript. The transcript is also not perfect, and can misrepresent some words.
  • If people are talking over top of each other, it is also not perfect.
  • Goal: What I need to test next is transcripts within breakouts.
  • BONUS TIP: If a person is watching someone sign-language, they should pin that video thumbnail for themselves.



Zoom Tutorial: Closed Captions, Transcripts & Subtitles





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