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Zoom live closed captioning and live transcript

The following instructional guide was developed by Concordia's Access Centre for Students with Disabilities. Visit the ACSD website for more information or to speak with a expert from the ACSD team.


Zoom has recently come out with closed captioning and live transcription feature. Closed captioning, if enabled, allows the host and the participants to have live closed captions during a Zoom meeting or a webinar. Closed captioning can be typed by the host, by someone who is assigned to type, or by a third-party closed captioning tool. If the user wants to have the live transcripts of a meeting or a webinar, Zoom also provides AI-powered live transcriptions for a certain category of accounts.


1)    A paid Zoom account or an educational-institution based email address that is used to create a Zoom account.

2)    Zoom version 5.0.2 or higher for both Windows and iOS.

Process to enable Live Closed Captioning and Live Transcript

1)    Create a Zoom account by using your Concordia based email address.

2)    Sign into Zoom web portal on your web browser using the Concordia email address and your password.

3)    Go to Settings in the navigation panel, and click on the Meeting tab.

4)    Scroll down to where Closed Captioning is mentioned. If you are not able to find it, press Ctrl+F and type in “Close Captioning” in the search box, and you will see something like this -

Screenshot shows Close captioning activated and checkbox checked to enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting

5)    By default, Closed Captioning is disabled for all user accounts. After enabling it you can see that live transcription option is also automatically enabled.

6)    Since saving captions can be useful for accessibility reasons, you can enable the Save Captions options as well.

Screenshot shows Save captions activated

7)    Once these steps are done, login to your Zoom application on your computer using your credentials, and start the meeting.

8)    At the start of the meeting, you will be able to see Live Transcript on the toolbar at the bottom of the Zoom window. Clicking on it will open a dialog box where the host can enable the Auto-Transcription or Closed Captioning.

Screenshot shows dialog box with the button "Enable Auto-Transcription" highlighted
Screenshot shows auto-transcription saying "Hello, this is me trying closed captioning"

9)    Once it is enabled, Live Transcript button on the toolbar will have a tiny arrow on the top right corner.

Screenshot shows Live transcript menu clicked. Submenu appears with the "View Full Transcript" option highlighted

10)     Clicking on it will give you an option to view full transcript on the side just like the chat sidebar. It is updated live as someone speaks.

Screenshot shows example of full transcript viewing with live voice to text updating

11)     At the end of the meeting the host can save the entire transcript, and Zoom will prompt them to the location of the saved file.


1)    The meeting host must start Live Transcription before participants can view subtitles or transcript. Any conversation that happened prior to enabling the feature will not be transcribed.

2)    Live Transcripts will not automatically save with local or cloud recordings. Cloud recordings, however, will still generate a transcript as before.

3)    Live Transcripts are not available in Breakout Rooms.

4)    At present, Live Transcripts only supports English.

Suggestions for improving transcript accuracy

1)    Using a headset with a dedicated microphone will ensure a clear input to Live Transcript AI, and it will result in more accurate transcripts.

2)    Overlapping or fast speakers can result in disoriented transcript because Zoom will not be able to identify the speaker. Having a small pause between speakers can improve accuracy.

3)    Speaking slowly, enunciating properly, not relying on short forms or abbreviations allow readers to keep up with the pace of the meeting, and improves the accuracy of the transcript.

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