Automatic, real-time, live text transcription is now available from Zoom at no additional cost. Live transcription allows participants to read all spoken conversation as captions or a full transcript with speaker attribution. Automatic transcription can be helpful for improving accessibility for participants who may be in loud environments, may not have access to headphones or speakers, or might otherwise benefit from hearing and seeing content simultaneously.

Requirements and Limitations

  • Live Transcription is subject to the requirements of Closed Captioning. Transcripts may be started or viewed from the Zoom app, but only viewed when joining via a web browser. Transcription cannot be started from Zoom for Linux.
  • Closed Captioning and Live Transcription must be enabled in your Zoom settings. This is enabled by default for all Zoom hosts. See Enabling Automatic Live Transcription below for additional information.
  • The meeting host must start Live Transcription before participants can view subtitles or transcript. Any conversation produced prior to enabling the feature will not be transcribed.
  • Live Transcripts will not automatically save with local or cloud recordings. Cloud recordings, however, will still generate a transcript as before.
  • Live Transcripts are not available in Breakout Rooms.
  • Automated captions may be generated in English or one of Zoom’s other supported languages.
  • This feature is not available in Zoom Meetings for HIPAA.
While automatic transcription provides value for all meetings, it is not a replacement for an accommodation. Meetings, classes, or webinars that include one or more individuals with documented reasonable accommodations by the BU Office of Disability & Access Services or Equal Opportunity Office that require closed captioning, must include a live captioner or other accommodation as documented.

Enabling Automatic Live Transcription

Live transcription is enabled by default for all meeting hosts. If you wish to verify this setting or turn it off, you may do so at any time by following these steps:

    1. Log in to Zoom Meetings using your BU Login.
    2. Click the “Settings” link, located on the sidebar to the left of the page.
    3. Scroll down to “In-Meeting (Advanced)” and locate the “Closed captioning” option.
    4. Turn the Closed Captioning setting on by clicking the slider, if necessary.
    5. Check “Allow live transcription service to transcribe meeting automatically,” then click “Save.”

Screenshot of the Zoom settings page. Under Closed Captioning, the option to allow live transcription service to transcribe meetings automatically is enabled and highlighted.

 

This setting takes effect at the start of your next meeting. Any ongoing meetings must be restarted before transcription is available.

If you would like to save your live transcripts, you can enable the “Save Captions” option, located just below “Closed captioning.” Note that this will allow any meeting participant to save the transcript. Transcripts must be saved manually; they will not be saved automatically with your recording, as noted in the Requirements and Limitations section.

Starting Automatic Live Transcription

Once your meeting has started, the host may start live transcription from their control bar. Until started by the host, captions or the transcript will not be generated or visible to participants.

  1. From the meeting control bar, click the “Live Transcript” button.
  2. Click “Enable-Auto Transcription.” Zoom will begin transcribing the meeting immediately.

Screenshot of Live Transcript function pane with "Enable Auto-Transcription" highlighted

Viewing Automatic Live Transcripts

After the host starts transcription, participants will see the “Live Transcript” button appear on their meeting control bar.

  1. Click “Live Transcript” from your meeting control bar.
  2. Select an option:
    1. Show Subtitle: View the transcript as scrolling captions within the main meeting window. Automatically generated subtitles do not show speaker attribution at this time.
    2. View Full Transcript: Display a full, scrollable, transcript with speaker attribution on the side of the meeting window. Both subtitles and the full transcript may be viewed at the same time.
    3. Subtitle Settingsā€¦: Adjust closed captioning font size and other accessibility options.

Screenshot of options for starting or managing subtitles and transcripts

Suggestions for Improving Transcript Accuracy

Automated speech recognition (ASR) transcripts often have lower accuracy than those produced by a captioner. To get the most out of a machine-generated transcript, consider the following tips:

  • Use a headset or dedicated microphone: Headsets, including the ones that come with most smartphones, or dedicated microphones produce clearer, louder audio than microphones built-in to a laptop. Higher quality speech input will result in more accurate transcripts.
  • Take turns or pause between speakers: Zoom will attempt to identify the speaker in the transcript, but rapid or overlapping conversation may result in misattribution. Taking time between speakers can improve accuracy.
  • Speak slowly: Speaking slowly can produce more accurate transcripts and allow readers to keep up with the pace of the meeting. Consider enabling Nonverbal Feedback so participants can indicate that they’d like the speaker to slow down.