Managing (enabling or disabling) closed captioning and live transcription in Zoom App

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2022

If you’d like to include virtual closed captioning in your Zoom meetings and webinars that provide subtitles for your video conferencing sessions, Zoom has a variety of options that you can choose from. For example, these may be useful if you want participants to be able to easily follow a conversation or if you want to meet accessibility requirements.

You can provide manual captioning in meetings, or you can ask someone else assigned by the host to provide manual captioning, you can use the third-party closed captioning service that Zoom integrates with, or you can use Zoom’s automated captions feature (also known as live transcription) to provide automatic captioning through closed caption settings. Similarly, webinars are also available with these features, although manual captioning must be provided by either the host or a panelist. Alternatively, Zoom Rooms can also be accessed via the same captioning options.

If you are a participant or attendee of the event and would like to see the closed captioning or live transcription, please refer to the user guide.

In order to be able to caption or live-transcribe, you will need a set of prerequisites

Closed captions

  • 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

Automated captions (live transcription)

  • 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

Transcriptions in real-time have some limitations

In the case that you cannot provide captioning manually or with the help of a third-party service, there is also a live transcription option available which comes with some limitations you should be aware of. This particular feature supports only English at the time of writing, and as such, the accuracy of the feature will depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • There is some background noise in the background
  • background
  • background. The speaker’s voice is not clear and has a lot of volume
  • when he or she speaks. Does the speaker know the English language well enough?
  • Is the speaker familiar with the lexicon and dialect specific to a particular region or community?

Taking into account these limitations, if you are required to use speech-to-text support as part of your meeting or webinar for any compliance or accessibility needs, we suggest a manual captioner or service who may be able to guarantee a specific accuracy level.

Note:

If you would like manual captioning to be provided by a third-party service or participant, you can only assign one of those.

What is the best way to enable the live transcription and captioning of meetings/webinars?

If you are the owner of the account or a member of staff with administrative privileges, you can choose to enable or disable closed captioning and live transcriptions. It is possible to enable Manual captions in your group settings, at which point the host will be able to type closed captions or assign the task to a participant or third-party service.

If you would like more information on how to enable and disable closed captioning, please visit the support article.

Zoom meetings can be made closed captioned or live transcripted if you know how to do so

Closed Captioning or Live Transcripting in a Zoom meeting or webinar can be accessed by following the steps below:

  1. If there is a Closed Caption or Live Transcript option available in the Zoom meeting or webinar that you are hosting, click on it.
  2. There are several options to choose from:
    • Assign a participant to type:
    •  Participants may be assigned to type closed captions during a meeting.
    • I will type:
    • Allows you to manually type in closed captions using the closed captioning window.
    • Copy the API token:
    • It is possible to integrate a third-party closed captioning service with your meeting by providing the URL that you can use.
    • Enable Auto-Transcription:
    • Activates live transcription by allowing the system to start automatically. Those who wish to use this service will be notified when the service becomes available. The service will only be available if the web settings have been enabled.

How to assign a participant to type closed captions

Host

You can assign the task of typing closed captions to one or more participants:

  1. You will need to assign a member of your team to type the message.
    After that, a window will appear with the participants.
  2. Click on the name of the participant that you want to add closed captions to and hover over his or her name.
  3. You will then be able to click More.
  4. From the menu that appears, select Assign.

Participant

After the waiting room , the screen will change to the following screen. Please wait until the host assigns you the capability to type closed captions, a notification will appear in the meeting controls once it has been assigned to you. Participants should follow the steps below to enter closed captions.

  1. Closed captioning is available by clicking the Closed Caption button.
    After clicking the Closed Caption button, a box with closed captions will appear.
  2. You will need to enter the closed captions in this box.
  3. If you want to submit the closed captions, press Enter.

What are the steps to follow if you want to use closed captioning in breakout rooms

You can have your participants view closed captions once you start breakout room sessions by clicking the Closed Caption button on the meeting control panel. If you want closed captions in the breakout rooms of the meeting, we recommend that you use a third-party closed captioning service if you’re the meeting host.

Make sure you assign permission to the participant to type closed captions before starting the breakout room sessions, if you would like them to type closed captions.

Notes:

  • Closed captions are only allowed to be typed by one person in a meeting; therefore, it is only possible to have one breakout session with closed captioning in a meeting.
  • There is no live transcription available in breakout rooms at this time.

What a participant needs to do to request live transcription during the meeting

Your meeting participants and webinar participants are also able to request the option of live transcription during meetings and webinars. There is an option to make this request directly from the meeting controls, so there is no need to ask for it verbally or via chat to avoid being interrupted.

  1. As the host of the meeting or webinar, you can initiate it.
  2. Participants and attendees of the meeting will be prompted with requests for live transcription when they request it. There is an option for you to make this request anonymously, so you may not see the name of the person requesting the feature.
  3. Choose one of the following options:
    • Enable:
    • Allows anyone taking part in the meeting or webinar to use the live transcription.
    • Decline:
    •  I have decided to decline this request to enable live transcription. I will be happy to process any requests from other participants.
    • Decline and don’t ask again:
    • If you wish to have live transcription enabled on this call, please decline this and all future requests.

Furthermore, the host can also disable the ability for users of the Windows and macOS desktop clients to make requests before any requests are made.

  1. As the host of the meeting or webinar, you should click Closed Caption or Live Transcript.
  2. Uncheck the box asking participants whether they want the transcript. By doing so, attendees and participants are no longer able to request the transcript.