What you need to know
- Zoom now supports auto-generated captions on all free Zoom meeting accounts.
- The feature was previously limited to paid accounts.
- Auto-generated captions are currently only available in English, but Zoom plans to expand them to other languages in the future.
Zoom meetings now support auto-generated captions regardless of if someone has a free or paid account. Before this change, people had to have a paid account or use a third-party captioning system for Zoom meetings. Auto-generated captions, also known as live transcriptions, are currently available in English. Zoom will expand the feature to other languages in the future.
"It's important to us that everyone can successfully connect, communicate, and participate using Zoom," says Zoom in its blog post announcing the change. "Without the proper accessibility tools, people with disabilities face tremendous barriers when using video communication solutions."
Auto-generated captions provide speaker subtitles in real-time during Zoom video meetings and webinars.
Zoom already supported AI-powered transcriptions, but the functionality was limited to paid accounts. This led to criticism for making Zoom meetings inaccessible to deaf people.
Shari Eberts equated captions to ramps for people in wheelchairs in a piece for the Washington Post:
Zoom highlights other accessibility features that it has, including pinning or spotlighting interpreter video, keyboard accessibility, screen reader support, and voicemail transcription. Zoom also supports third-party captioning software and manual captioning.
Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com (opens in new tab).
Who knows how long Zoom is going to stay at the top of the pile? They have nothing more compelling than a video conferencing system that a) works reliably and b) is now synonymous with video chat, because it just is. Meanwhile, Teams is chock full of org features and ties to Office. I don't mean the company ill, but one of my favorite graphs of 2020 was the stock price of Zoom before and after the first vaccine was announced. In any case, giving away this feature is just a sign that they know they don't have the market power they did only a few months ago. Competition is good.
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