Zoom is now making its live closed captioning service available to free users.
The “automatically generated captions” feature uses software to detect what participants are saying during a video call and display the captions in real time. “It’s important to us that everyone can successfully connect, communicate and participate using Zoom,” the company said in an announcement Monday. “Without the right accessibility tools, people with disabilities face huge barriers when using video communication solutions. “
The feature was already available to free users, but you had to request access by submitting a form. Otherwise, the feature was only available for paid Zoom accounts with the built-in cloud recording feature.
The company is now making the feature available for free Zoom meetings and webinars. For now, the technology can only be used for sessions in English, but the company is working to expand the service to 30 more languages.
The company has created a support document explaining how to activate the feature. You must first log into your account on the company’s Zoom portal site, then go to Settings, click on the Meeting tab, then scroll down to the Closed Captioning section, where you can enable the authorisation. Zoom client version 5.7.0 or higher is also required.
There is also another option that lets you record captions, turning the feature into a transcription service. “If you are a single user in a multiple account, please work with your account administrator to enable this feature through the web portal for all users,” the company said.
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Once authorization is enabled, the host of a Zoom video meeting should enable automatically generated captions. “Attendees can still privately request that the meeting host turn on live transcription during the session using the meeting toolbar,” the company adds. “Zoom also supports manual captioning as well as integration with third-party captioning services.”
It’s also important to note that the closed captioning feature means that Zoom creates a copy of what is said during your video conferences. We have contacted the company about how this data is being handled, and will update the story if we have any news.
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