live captions header

Zoom Live Transcription

Zoom audio live transcription is now available at Meredith College!

What is live transcription?

Live transcription means that speech-to-text captions are generated as people speak during a meeting. There are a variety of reasons that captions benefit students or meeting participants so this is not just about accessibility for those with disabilities but accessibility for all.

The speech-to-text is fairly accurate and wasn’t generated too far behind what was being said.

zoom live transcript caption screenshot
Screenshot of live transcription captions

Limitation with live transcription

This screenshot shows live transcriptions during a Zoom meeting. The speech-to-text is pretty impressive but it will not be perfect. In this screenshot we were talking about Google Meet but the transcriptions shows it as “meat”. Situations that may affect speech-to-text capture include

  • lots of background noise
  • volume of the speaker
  • clarity of the speaker
  • speaker’s proficiency in English
  • technical jargon or terms
  • cross talking between speakers

If you need more accuracy than speech-to-text, you will want to assign a captioner instead of using live transcription.

Turn on live transcription for your account

To enable live transcription options on your account, you must first turn in on in Zoom settings.

From your Zoom dashboard, click Settings in the left hand menu. Under the Meeting tab, click In Meeting (Advanced) and scroll down to Closed Captioning.

Make sure Closed Captioning is toggled on and then check the box next to “Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting”

zoom live transcript dashboard settings

These setting are now enabled for all meetings on your account but they do not turn on the live transcription automatically during meetings! You will have to enable it in each meeting once you have started.

Enable live transcription in meeting

Once you’ve enabled live transcription for your account, you can now turn in on for each meeting. You’ll find this under the CC or More… button in your main meeting toolbar depending on how many options you have. Mine was under the More… button.

zoom enable live transcription in meeting

Click the CC or More… button and click Live Transcript. You should see the menu pictured above. Under Live Transcript, click Enable Auto-Transcription to turn on live transcription.

Live Transcript is now turned on for everyone in this meeting! Any participant can use the same CC menu to hide the subtitles showing on their screen.

Live Transcript must be enable for every stand-alone meeting. If you have a recurring meeting, you can turn it on once and it will continue to stay on for subsequent meetings.

Live Transcription menu options

Once you have enabled live transcriptions for your meeting, you can go to the CC or More… button again to see additional menu options about your transcription.

zoom live transcript menu options

Live transcript

This menu option brings up the same option box you saw to enable live transcription. You can click Disable Auto-Transcription to turn off the live transcription.

Hide subtitle

Clicking this still enables the live transcription for the meeting but it will hide the subtitles from showing up on your screen. Any participant in the meeting can do this for their own view.

Show/close full transcript

Clicking this will open or close a panel that shows the full transcript from your meeting. It will show up at the right hand side of the video (like the participant panel) and shows timestamps of the captions and who was speaking.

zoom full transcript panel

Just like the participant or chat panel, you can also detach this to be a separate window.

It also has a button at the bottom of the panel to Save Transcript. This allows you to save the transcript to your computer as a plain text (.TXT) file. *NOTE* that it will only save what has been said in the meeting up until the point when you press the button. Like a snapshot. It will not save the transcript for the whole meeting.

zoom full transcript panel save transcript button

Subtitle settings…

This opens up an your Zoom settings menu to the Accessibility tab. You can also open this settings dialog by clicking the shield icon in the upper left corner of your meeting then clicking the gear icon in the corner of that menu box.

zoom in meeting settings

From the Accessibility settings, you can change the size of the captions, the size of the Chat display, and toggle on/off screen reader alerts.

zoom settings accessibility

Record transcription – files and video

I already mentioned the Save Transcript button from the Full Transcript panel but that is not the best way to save your full meeting transcript.

The best way to save your meeting transcript is to cloud record your meeting. This method will generate several files for you

  • video file w/subtitles embedded
  • audio transcript file (VTT)
  • captions file (VTT)

These files can be downloaded so you can use them with you video anywhere. Like if you wanted to add your video to Knowmia or YouTube, you could import your captions file with it. If you have your Zoom recording automatically set to transfer to TechSmith Knowmia, the captions will not display on the video automatically.

You can also edit the transcript file from the Zoom portal, display the transcript as closed captions on your video, or search within the transcript. These are all available with the cloud recording playback features. Learn more about that the video below or in the Zoom article here.

*Just remember, Meredith College Zoom accounts are all set to delete cloud recordings after 30 days*

So there it is all about live transcription! We hope you’ll use this great new feature to increase the overall accessibility of your courses since it is free and easy to use.

4 thoughts on “Zoom Live Transcription”

  1. Pingback: February 2021 Disability Roundup - Optimist Jenna

    1. Stephanie Ashby

      Glad you found it helpful! This is going to be a great addition for everyone on Zoom.

      1. Yes, I consider myself lucky that my auditory processing issues aren’t too bad. For other people, it’s so much harder! I especially think of autistic people, who often talk about how tough it is to do the cognitive work of Zoom. If they can turn on subtitles, that’s one load off their brains.

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