Turning on Live Captions in Zoom


Live captioning (called live transcription) in Zoom is available to all faculty, staff, and students.  Live transcriptions show text to speech on the lower part of the Zoom window or in a full transcript window. Live transcripts are machine-generated and while they are not as accurate as a person, they can be helpful for participants in a loud or public space, do not have access to headphones or speakers, are English language learners, or benefit from hearing and reading content simultaneously. 

Meeting Host 

As a meeting host you will need to enable auto transcription at the start of each meeting. Begin by logging in to Bowdoin's Zoom website, then:

  1. Click Live Transcript at the bottom of the Zoom Toolbar. 
  2. When the Live Transcription menu opens, click Enable Auto-Transcription

  3. ​​To hide subtitles from the host screen but still allow participants to view subtitles click the Live Transcript menu and choose Hide Subtitle.
  4. To turn off live transcription, click Disable Auto-Transcription in the Live Transcript menu..
  5. Hosts also have the ability to disable Save Transcript. (Click to toggle off Save Captions in the Settings tab of the Zoom web application at bowdoin.zoom.us)


Once Live Transcription is enabled by the host, participants have the option to choose how they want to view live transcriptions in their Zoom window.

  1. Click the Live Transcript button on the Zoom toolbar. 

  2. Show Subtitles displays subtitles on the screen.
  3. View Full Transcript displays subtitles in real time with both the speaker's name and a time-stamp within the transcript window. Transcripts can be searched.
  4. If you would like a copy of the transcript, click View Full Transcript and Save Transcript. A copy of the transcript will be downloaded to your machine. 
    Note: The transcript saves up to the moment of clicking Save Transcript. Save Transcript just before the meeting ends to ensure you have the transcript from the entire meeting. Also note that this option may not be available if the host has disabled this feature. 

Subtitle Text Size

  1. Change the size of the subtitles in your Zoom window by clicking on the Live Transcript menu and Subtitle Settings.

  2. Slide the slider to increase or decrease the text size.

Tips for using Live Transcription with Zoom

  • Use an External Microphone: An external microphone/headset provides better audio quality and, therefore, more accurately matches what is being said verbally. 
  • Speak Slowly: Speaking slowly enables a more accurate match to what is being said verbally and allows others to follow the automatic transcript or subtitles. 
  • Take Turns/Pause Before Speaking: Zoom's active speaker tracking is used to identify the speaker. When another individual begins speaking, it can take a second or two before Zoom updates the transcript to identify the new speaker.
  • Monitor the Participants Panel for the Go Slower function: Zoom's Participants panel displays all attendees and shows any nonverbal feedback the attendees provide. When using automatic live transcription, consider keeping the Participants panel open to see if attendees are indicating they need speakers to Go Slower