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Using Live Captions in Zoom (the new CC live transcript button) and sharing transcript recording

Zoom allows users to enable auto-generated captions during meetings. While automatic captions are never 100% accurate, this setting can help to make your meetings more accessible for your participants.

Live transcription limitations

Before enabling this setting, it’s important to be aware that automatically generated captions using Zoom’s live transcription feature will have limitations. Zoom covers this point well on their website:

The accuracy of Zoom’s live transcription 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 needs in your meetings and webinars, we recommend using a manual captioner who may be able to guarantee a specific accuracy.”

Activating auto captions using Zoom CC button

ITS has informed us that captions “will need to be activated within the meeting by the host (e.g. teacher) when someone (e.g. student) requests live captioning“.

You as the host teacher need to click the CC live transcript button to activate it:

NOTE you will need to do this at each new Zoom meeting

Then click ‘enable auto transcription’ :

If you do not click the button for yourself, your students will not be able to see subtitles, nor will they have the button in their Zoom menu in the meeting.

What your participants will see

The picture below shows the participant or student view of the Zoom meeting. Here you can see the subtitle text (“yeah” comment) and the new button that then appears for them.

NOTE participants should NOT have their Zoom window at a smaller window screen size, as this may hide the number of icon buttons viewable.

If the participant then clicks on their own ‘live transcript’ button and selects ‘view full transcript’ :

They can then see a full transcript as it happens with icon colour coding for different speakers, in a new transcript column window in Zoom:

Viewing transcripts in Zoom recordings

ITS informs us “Saving of captions is disabled for data protection reasons but they can be viewed in the recordings and chat view panel

The procedure for this is to select recording the Zoom meeting to “Record to the cloud” as below:

Editing your transcripts

To create a truly accurate record of the meeting (and to add a real boost to accessibility), you can edit your transcripts in the Zoom portal. For more information, see this guide:

Editing transcripts in Zoom

After you have finished recording, Zoom sends out two emails, please refer to the second email titled “The audio transcript of cloud recording

NOTE The second email will include a link “SHARE THIS RECORDING WITH VIEWERS (with the integrated audio transcript)”. You will need to copy this specific link and share full details including passcode, see below:

Further information

For further information you can check out the Zoom website info on live captions.

About the author(s)

  • Simon Cheung

    Simon is an Educational Technologist at CUOL - Coventry University Online Limited. I'm an active member of the 'Inclusive Curriculum - Community of Practice' group. I am interested in accessibility & equality.

Updated on November 8, 2021

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