Zoom Now Has Free Live Transcription/ Closed Captioning Option

Be Inclusive at No Cost:  Zoom Adds Feature for Live Captioning

(Jennifer Rigterink, Michigan Municipal League, republished with permission, Feb. 3, 2021)

In a step toward online inclusion Zoom has added a new feature, live transcription. Michigan Municipal League has recently started using this feature and wanted to share information about it since public meetings are still taking place virtually, and many local units of government have been paying for closed caption services. The meeting/webinar host must enable this feature for it to work.

Enabling the Live Automatic Transcription Service in your Zoom Account

Following these steps will activate the feature for all future meetings or webinars created within your Zoom account.

Log into the Zoom account.

Click Settings from the left side menu

Click In Meeting (Advanced) or scroll down the page to that section of the settings.

Turn on Closed captioning (the toggle will move to the right and become blue)

Under that option check the box that says Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting. 

Click Save

Starting the Live Automatic Transcriptions During a Meeting or Webinar

Note: Only the host can turn auto transcriptions on or off.

Start your Zoom meeting or webinar.

Click the Live Transcript button from the Zoom control bar at the bottom of the screen.

At the bottom of the pop-up window click Enable Auto-Transcription

The host and meeting attendees will immediately see the running transcripts at the bottom of the Zoom meeting video.

In addition, once the feature is enabled, a new set of options will be available for the host and meeting attendees by clicking the small arrow on the Live Transcript button.

These options are:

Show/Hide Subtitle

The transcript will appear as video subtitles at the bottom of the video frame. You can also click Hide Subtitle to remove all subtitles.

View Full Transcript

The transcript will appear in a side-panel Transcript window, and the full transcript to that point may be saved by clicking Save Transcript if the option is allowed in settings. Host and attendees can also search the transcript by entering text into the Search transcript field at the top of the window.

Subtitle Settings

Participants can change the appearance of the subtitles

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.

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