Knowledgebase: Online Lectures
Adding Closed Captions or Live Subtitles to Zoom Meetings

Article Last Updated February 2021

Instructors can enable 2 different options for transcriptions in their Zoom meetings: 1) By designating a manual transcriber (often provided through the Accessibility Resources team) to provide live text transcripts of a course lecture; or 2) New in February 2021, by enabling an automated live transcription service provided by Zoom.

Instructors opting to enable live transcripts should take note of the limitations of the live transcription service detailed here, noting that the accuracy depends on:

  • Background noise
  • Volume and clarity of the speaker’s voice
  • Speaker's proficiency with the English language
  • Lexicons and dialects specific to a geography, discipline, or community

There are 2 steps to setting this up:

  1. In your account settings, enable closed captions or live transcription.
  2. Assigning a participant to do the closed captioning.


1. Enable Transcriptions on a Zoom account:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal. Users should use the 'Sign-in with Google' option. Note: this must occur AFTER creating a Zoom account using the eClass integration.

  2. In the left-side navigation panel, click Settings.
  3. On the Meeting tab, click the 'In meeting (Advanced)' link, then toggle the Closed Captioning option to enabled. 

  4. Users will see a verification dialog alerting them that the closed cation setting may affect the ability for users to save the captions - click Enable:

  5. New in February 2021, once Closed captioning is enabled, the option to turn on live captioning becomes available. Once this is selected, all further meetings created by this user will allow participants to enable live text transcripts in their display of the meeting (see here):

2. Assign Another User to Caption the Content

  1. As the host of a Zoom meeting, click the Closed Caption icon in the bottom horizontal meeting toolbar:

    Closed captioning symbol

  2. There are 2 options for captioning (no 3rd party close captioning services are available at this time):

    The options for assigning someone to manually write closed captions.

    • "Assign a participant to type": This opens the participants window where you can hover over the participant's name, click More, and then click Assign to Type Closed Caption.

      Showing the Assign to type Closed Caption option in the menu after clicking More when hovering over a participant's name.
    • "I will type": This opens the closed captioning window for you to manually type closed captions.

      The Closed Caption typing window


2.a. Creating the Closed Captions

  1. Once the host assigns you the ability to type closed captions, a notification will appear in your meeting controls.

    The Zoom meeting controls with a notification for closed captioning

  2. Click Closed Caption.
  3. This will open up the closed caption box. You will type the caption in the box and press Enter to submit it.

    A gif showing someone typing closed captions.


Viewing Live Transcripts as a Participant

Regular users are able to view live captions in sessions by opening the Live Transcript  button in the bottom horizontal toolbar and then clicking on Show subtitle:

Users can adjust the size of the live transcript by clicking Subtitle settings and toggling the size slider:

The live transcript will appear as directly in the meeting interface above the tool bar:

Viewing Closed Captions as a Participant

Regular users are able to view closed captions live in sessions by opening the clicking on the Closed Caption button in the bottom horizontal toolbar:

Closed captioning symbol

This functionality is also described in more detail in the Zoom documentation.

Afterwards the transcripts will be saved under your meetings located in your Zoom account. This can be downloaded and edited. You can also use this feature to embed the closed captioning into the video for future use.

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