Zoom, one of the world’s most popular remote meeting software applications, has significantly improved it’s automated captioning feature and is now making it available to free users.
In a press release issued by Zoom Video, it indicated that the rollout has commenced this month for free users, allowing millions of people to have live automated captions to support meetings with people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
While the feature is a welcome step forward, there has been some issues in enabling the captions which can be cumbersome to find and difficult to access if the meting host hasn’t started them. In addition, the captions are currently only available in English.
As such, there are workarounds that can improve the quality by combining other live captioning solutions with a Zoom presentation. This can be achieved by enabling live captioning in PowerPoint and then screen sharing the slides. This can provide more accurate captions and allows for multiple languages. There is also support for automated captions in Microsoft Teams and Google Meet which may prove more effective for some users.
Although the automated captions in Zoom have room for improvement, overall the platform has great accessibility support including excellent screen reader keyboard and touchscreen navigation across the user interface and a spotlight feature that can assist in making a sign language interpreter always visible. As such, Zoom remains one of the better options currently available for accessible remote meetings.
Additional information can be found at the Zoom support page.