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Zoom adding automatic closed captioning for all free accounts

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But starting this week you can manually request the feature

Zoom has previously supported AI-generated closed captions for paid accounts.
Image: Zoom

Zoom plans to roll out support for automatic closed captioning to free accounts this fall as part of its efforts to make the service more accessible, the company has announced. If you’re a free account holder who needs access to the feature before then, Zoom is allowing users to manually request access to the Live Transcription feature via a Google Form linked to in its announcement.

Automatic transcriptions aren’t an entirely new Zoom feature. The service has previously offered AI-powered live transcription for all its paid accounts. Otherwise, meeting hosts have had to manually add their own captions, or use a third-party service. But now the feature will become available to the millions of people that rely on Zoom’s services for free. A Zoom support page notes that its Live Transcription feature is currently only available in English.

Automatic closed captions are also available with other video conferencing services like Google Meet. Given how widely used Zoom has become since the start of the pandemic, however, it’s great to see it adding more accessibility features. Previous efforts to make Zoom more accessible have included allowing meetings to pin and spotlight interpreters on a call, as well as adding screen reader support.