Managing automated captions

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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 by 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 automated captions (also known as 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

Supported languages currently include:

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Chinese (Simplified)(Beta)
  • Russian
  • Japanese (Beta)
  • Korean (Beta)
  • Dutch
  • Ukrainian

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

Prerequisites for automated captioning (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
  • Automated captioning enabled

Limitations of real-time transcriptions

If you cannot provide captioning manually or with a third-party service, the automated 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.

Notes:

  • You can only assign one participant or third-party service to provide manual captioning.
  • Live transcription is not available for On-Prem accounts. 

How to start automated captioning in Zoom Meetings

To start automated captioning in a Zoom meeting or webinar:

  1. In a Zoom meeting or webinar that you are hosting, click Show Captions
    Automated captions will begin generating and appearing in your video window. 

Choose your speaking language 

When using automated captions, English is the default language, but other languages can be selected. This tells the system which language it will hear you speak and generates captions in that language. If speaking in language A, but Zoom is expecting language B, the generated captions will be inaccurate. 

  1. In the meeting controls next to the Show Captions  option, click the up-caret
  2. Select the Speaking language option to view other languages available for captioning. 
    When selected, Zoom will begin transcribing your speech in the chosen language. 

Notes:

  • The availability of languages is determined by the host's automated captioning settings.
  • The speaking language choice is set by each participant individually and is remembered for future meetings. 

How to handle participant requests to enable live transcription

Participants of your meetings and webinars can also request to have automated captioning 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 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.

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