Zoom has a variety of options for creating virtual closed captioning in your Zoom meetings and webinars that provide subtitles for video conferencing. 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 provide automatic captioning through closed caption settings. 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.
Limitations of real-time transcriptions
If you cannot 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 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:
- How to enable meeting/webinar captions and live transcription
- How to start Closed Caption or Live Transcript in Zoom meetings
- How to assign a participant to type closed captions
- How to use closed captioning in breakout rooms
- How to make participant requests to enable 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
- 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
How to enable meeting/webinar captions and live transcription
As an account owner or admin with privileges, you can enable or disable closed captioning and live transcription services. When the Closed captioning setting is enabled, the host can type closed captions or assign a participant or third-party service to add closed captions.
For more information, visit the support article on how to enable or disable closed captioning and live transcription.
How to start Closed Caption or Live Transcript in Zoom meetings
To start Closed Caption or Live Transcript in a Zoom meeting or webinar:
- In a Zoom meeting or webinar that you are hosting, click Closed Caption or Live Transcript , if that feature is enabled.
- 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.
How to assign a participant to type closed captions
To assign a participant to type closed captions:
- Click Assign a participant to type.
The participants window will open.
- Find the participant who you want to type closed captions and hover over their name.
- Click More.
- Select Assign to type Closed Caption.
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:
- Click Closed Caption .
This will open up the closed caption box.
- Type the closed captions in the box.
- Press Enter to submit your closed captions.
How to use 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.
- 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.
How to make 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.
- Start a meeting or webinar as the host.
- 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.
- 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.
- Click Closed Caption or Live Transcript as the host in the meeting or webinar.
- Disable Allow participants to request Live Transcription. This disabled the ability for participants and attendees to make these requests.