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Enabling and managing closed captioning and live transcription Follow

Overview

Zoom has a variety of options for creating closed captioning in your meetings and webinars which provides subtitles of the spoken in-meeting communications. This may be used for participants to easily follow the conversations or to meet accessibility requirements.

In meetings, the host or another meeting attendee assigned by the host can provide manual captioning, an integrated third-party closed captioning service can provide the captioning, or Zoom’s live transcription feature can automatically provide captions. These same options are available with webinars, although manual captioning can only be provided by the host or a panelist. Any of these captioning options are also viewable in Zoom Rooms

If you are unable to provide captioning manually or with a third-party service, the live transcription feature is also available but has limitations to take note of. Live transcription currently only supports English and the accuracy of the feature depends on many variables, such as but not limited to:

  • Background noise
  • Volume and clarity of the speaker’s voice
  • Speaker's proficiency with the English language
  • Lexicons and dialects specific to a geography or community

Because of these limitations, if you are required to use speech-to-text support for any compliance or accessibility needs in your meetings and webinars, we recommend using a manual captioner or service that may be able to guarantee a specific accuracy.

As mentioned in our Zoom blog post, we are working towards making live transcription available to all of our users in the fall of 2021. To help free account holders who want live transcription before then, we will also be offering live transcription to meeting hosts upon request. To sign up, enter your information in this form.

Note: You can only assign one participant or third-party service to provide closed captioning.

For more information about viewing closed captioning or live transcription as a participant or attendee, please refer to the user guide

This article covers:

Prerequisites

Closed captioning

  • 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

  • Pro, Business, Education, or Enterprise account
    Note: Approved K-12 accounts and other accounts upon request can also have access to this feature.
  • 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

Enabling closed captioning and live transcription

Account

To enable Closed captioning for all users in the account:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal as an admin with the privilege to edit account settings.
  2. In the navigation panel, click Account Management then Account Settings.
  3. Click the Meeting tab.
  4. Under In Meeting (Advanced), verify that Closed captioning is enabled.
  5. If the setting is disabled, click the toggle to enable it. If a verification dialog box appears, click Enable to verify the change.
  6. (Optional) If you want to make this setting mandatory for all users in your account, click the lock icon unlocked-button.png, and then click Lock to confirm the setting.
  7. (Optional) Select the check boxes to enable additional features:
    • Allow use of caption API Token to integrate with 3rd-party Closed Captioning services
    • Enable live transcription service to transcribe meeting automatically
    • Allow viewing of full transcript in the in-meeting side panel: If disabled, participants can't view the full transcript in the side panel. They can only view captions in the video window of the meeting or webinar. Participants also won't be able to save captions.
      Note: This feature requires Zoom version 5.7.0 or higher.

Group

To enable Closed captioning for a group of users:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal as an admin with the privilege to edit groups.
  2. In the navigation panel, click User Management then Group Management.
  3. Click the applicable group name from the list, then click the Settings tab.
  4. Click the Meeting tab.
  5. Under In Meeting (Advanced), verify that Closed captioning is enabled.
  6. If the setting is disabled, click the toggle to enable it. If a verification dialog box appears, click Enable to verify the change.
    Note: If the option is grayed out, it has been locked at the account level and needs to be changed at that level.
  7. (Optional) If you want to make this setting mandatory for all users in the group, click the lock icon unlocked-button.png , and then click Lock to confirm the setting.
  8. (Optional) Select the check boxes to enable additional features:
    • Allow use of caption API Token to integrate with 3rd-party Closed Captioning services
    • Enable live transcription service to transcribe meeting automatically
    • Allow viewing of full transcript in the in-meeting side panel: If disabled, participants can't view the full transcript in the side panel. They can only view captions in the video window of the meeting or webinar. Participants also won't be able to save captions.
      Note: This feature requires Zoom version 5.7.0 or higher.

User

To enable Closed captioning for your own use:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation panel, click Settings.
  3. Click the Meeting tab.
  4. Under In Meeting (Advanced), verify that Closed captioning is enabled.
  5. If the setting is disabled, click the toggle to enable it. If a verification dialog box appears, click Enable to verify the change.
    Note: If the option is grayed out, it has been locked at either the group or account level. You need to contact your Zoom admin.
  6. (Optional) Select the check boxes to enable additional features:
    • Allow use of caption API Token to integrate with 3rd-party Closed Captioning services
    • Enable live transcription service to transcribe meeting automatically
    • Allow viewing of full transcript in the in-meeting side panel: If disabled, participants can't view the full transcript in the side panel. They can only view captions in the video window of the meeting or webinar. Participants also won't be able to save captions.
      Note: This feature requires Zoom version 5.7.0 or higher.

Starting Closed Caption or Live Transcript in a meeting

To start Closed Caption or Live Transcript in a Zoom meeting or webinar:

  1. In a Zoom meeting or webinar that you are hosting, click Closed Caption or Live Transcript , if that feature is enabled. 
  2. Select one of the following options:
    • Assign a participant to type: Assigns a participant to type closed captions during the meeting.
    • I will type: Opens the closed captioning window for you to manually type closed captions.
    • Copy the API token: Copy the URL that you can provide to a third-party closed captioning service to integrate the service with your meeting.
    • Enable Auto-Transcription: Allows the system to start providing live transcription. Participants will be notified that this service is available. This option is only available if enabled in web settings.

Assigning a participant to type

Host

To assign a participant to type closed captions:

  1. Click Assign a participant to type
    The participants window will open.
  2. Find the participant who you want to type closed captions and hover over their name.
  3. Click More.
  4. Select Assign to type Closed Caption.

Participant

Once the host assigns you the ability to type closed captions, a notification will appear in your meeting controls. To enter closed captions as a participant:

  1. Click Closed Caption
    This will open up the closed caption box. 
  2. Type the closed captions in the box.
  3. Press Enter to submit your closed captions.

Using closed captioning in breakout rooms

After you start breakout room sessions, participants can click Closed Caption in the meeting controls to view closed captions. If you're the meeting host, we recommend using a third-party closed captioning service if you want closed captions in breakout rooms.

If you want a participant to type closed captions, make sure you assign them permission to type closed caption before starting the breakout room sessions.

Notes:

  • Only one participant can be assigned to type closed captions in a meeting; thus, it is only possible to have one breakout session with closed captioning.
  • Live transcription is currently not supported in breakout rooms.

Participant requests to enable live transcription

Participants of your meetings and webinars can also request to have live transcription enabled during the session. This option is available in the meeting controls, and avoids the need to request this verbally or through chat to avoid interruptions. 

  1. Start a meeting or webinar as the host. 
  2. When a participant or attendee requests live transcription be enabled, you will be prompted with the request. This request can be made anonymously, so you may not see the name of the participant requesting this feature. 
  3. Choose one of the following options: 
    • Enable: Enables live transcription for use of anyone in the meeting or webinar. 
    • Decline: Decline this request to have live transcription enabled. Other participants will be able to make their own requests. 
    • Decline and don't ask again: Decline this and all future requests to have live transcription enabled. 
The host can also disable the ability to make requests before any request is made when using the Windows or macOS desktop clients. 
  1. Click Closed Caption or Live Transcript as the host in the meeting or webinar. 
  2. Disable Allow participants to request Live Transcription. This disabled the ability for participants and attendees to make these requests.