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Zoom Meeting Real-Time Captioning and Live Transcription

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Attendees who cannot hear or do not have audio output available to them may need closed captioning to participate in a meeting.

The Zoom meeting desktop app can be set up to designate any participant invited/connected to a Zoom meeting to be a closed captioner who transcribes the audio of a meeting in real time. In a webinar, the closed captioning can only be added by the host, co-host, or a panelist assigned by the host.

If you are unable to provide captioning, Zoom also provides AI-powered live transcription for MIT Zoom accounts. This can be enabled by the host, and all participants can view the captioning.

Viewing Closed Captioning

Closed captions can be viewed in the Zoom desktop or mobile apps. Closed Captioning is enabled for MIT accounts by default. If you need to enable captioning or would like to check your captioning settings:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation panel, click Settings.
  3. In the Meeting tab, verify that Closed Caption is enabled.
  4. If the setting is disabled, enable it.
    Result: You may see a verification dialog for the change. Accept the change, and captioning is enabled for your account.

The setting to enable AI-powered live transcription appears directly below where you enable Closed Captioning. Once set, it will automatically live-caption your meetings and you need take no further action unless you'd like to save the transcript (see below).

Follow these steps to caption a Zoom Meeting

Designate a Captioner

For the sake of these instructions, we assume the host or an attendee will be captioning the meeting live. Should you hire a 3rd party service to provide captioning, check with your vendor for how to setup Zoom to integrate with their service.

  1. As host, click the CC (Closed Captions) button in the host control menubar.

  2. Choose a captioner to type. You can choose yourself or a participant.
    In a webinar, you are limited to only the host, a co-host or panelist being able to type captions.

    • Host captions: A window will open for you to type the captions.
    • A participant captions:
      1. The participants window opens.
      2. Hover over a participant's name and click More then Assign to Type Closed Caption.

Entering Captions

Be sure to indicate in the captioning who is speaking and any non-verbal information that might be useful to understanding the context of the meeting. For example, note any music or other sounds in videos or audio files played for the group.

  • As host the captioning window automatically pops up when they select to caption themselves.
  • A participant will see a notification in their meeting controls that they have been selected to caption. They will need to click the CC (Closed Caption) button to open the captioning window.

    Result: The captioning window will open and the captioner can begin captioning the meeting. Press enter to submit captions. It is best to do it frequently, such as every sentence so the participants relying on captioning can keep up with the meeting.

Save the Transcript

Either the Captioner (Participant) or the Host can save the closed captioned transcript.

  1. Click the CC button and select "View full transcript"

    Result: The full transcript of the meeting opens.

  2. Click Save Transcript
    Result: Your transcript is saved in your Documents/Zoom folder inside a folder named after the date and time of the meeting.

Live Captioning Tips and Limitations

Live captioning relies on an AI that attempts to translate voice into text in real-time. It is not perfect and may not be desirable for compliance needs. In those cases, we recommend a live captioner. It is also currently limited to the English language.

To get the best performance from your live-captioning:

  • Speak as clearly as possible directly into your microphone.
  • Reduce or eliminate background noise.
  • Avoid words and phrases only used in specific geographic regions as the system may not recognize them.
  • Ensure only one person is speaking at a time.


  • Live captioning only supports English at this time.

See Also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

February 11, 2021

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