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. These options can be enabled and used by participants to easily follow the conversations or to meet accessibility requirements.

In a meeting, the host or another participant 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. 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.

This article covers:

Prerequisites for managing automated captioning 

In Zoom Meetings 

  • Zoom desktop client
    • Windows: 5.8.6 or higher
    • macOS: 5.8.6 or higher
  • Zoom mobile app
    • Android: 5.8.6 or higher
    • iOS: 5.8.6 or higher
  • Automated captioning enabled

In Zoom Webinars 

  • Zoom desktop client
    • Windows: 5.8.6 or higher*
    • macOS: 5.8.6 or higher*
  • Zoom mobile app
    • Android: 5.8.6 or higher*
    • iOS: 5.8.6 or higher*
  • Automated captioning enabled

*Note: Automated captioning support for languages besides English requires client version 5.11.9 or higher. 

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. The accuracy of the automated captions depends on many variables, such as but not limited to:

  • Background noise
  • Volume and clarity of the speaker’s voice
  • Lexicons and dialects specific to 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.
  • Automated captions are not available for On-Prem accounts. 

Known issues

  • For webinars, hosts using desktop client versions lower than 5.11.9 can inadvertently cause both manual captioning and automated captioning to be shown at the same time. It is recommended hosts update to version 5.11.9 or higher to avoid this issue. 
    • As a workaround during a live webinar, the host can disable automated captioning to avoid competing captions.

How to start automated captioning 

To start automated captioning in a Zoom Meeting or Webinar:

  1. Start the Zoom meeting or webinar that you are hosting.
  2. In the host controls, click More more-button__1_.png, then click Captions.
  3. Under Your Caption Settings, 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, click More more-button__1_.png, then click Captions.
  2. Under Your Caption Settings, hover your mouse over the Speaking language option to view other languages available for captioning. 
  3. Select a speaking language.
    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. 

View full transcript

You can view a full transcription of your meeting or webinar if live transcription is enabled

  1. In the meeting controls, click More more-button__1_.png, then click Captions.
  2. Under Your Caption Settings, click View Full Transcript
    The Transcript panel will appear, displaying the meeting's/webinar's full transcript.
  3. (Optional) At the bottom of the Transcript panel, click Save Transcript to save a file of the full transcript.
  4. (Optional) Use the search bar to search through the transcript.
  5. (Optional) To hide the full transcript:
    • In the meeting controls:
      1. Click More more-button__1_.png, then click Captions.
      2. Under Your Caption Settings, click Close Full Transcript
    • In the Transcript panel:
      1. In the top right corner, click the down arrow down-arrow-button.png.
      2. Click Close.

Adjust closed captioning size

  1. In the meeting controls, click More more-button__1_.png, then click Captions.
  2. Under Your Caption Settings, click Caption settings
    The Accessibility desktop client settings window will appear.
  3. Under Closed Caption, move the slider to adjust the caption size slider.png.

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 to enable live transcription, 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 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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