Zoom's automatic closed captions will roll out to everyone in the fall

Free users who need the feature can request access until then.

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Mariella Moon
February 25th, 2021
Video call from home during lockdown
Alistair Berg via Getty Images

Closed captions will soon be widely available on Zoom. The video conferencing app has announced that it's working towards making automatic closed captioning available to all of its users by the fall of 2021. Currently, the built-in AI-powered feature is locked behind a paywall and can only be accessed by paid account holders — a Zoom subscription costs at least $150 a year per license. Everybody else has to provide their own captions by typing them up or using a third-party service. 

In an effort to help free account holders in need of live transcriptions, such as those with hearing loss, Zoom is accepting automatic closed captioning requests until the fall when the feature is done rolling out. Interested users, will have to complete a form, which has a note that says: 

"This form is intended for users that require Live Transcription in order to better participate in Zoom meetings. If you are not in such need for the Live Transcription feature, we recommend that you please wait until Fall 2021, when the feature will become available for all free Zoom users."

Based on the company's closed captioning FAQs, the feature can be enabled by a host, and all participants can view the transcription. However, it only supports English at the moment, and like with any other live transcription tool, users will have to speak clearly or it's bound to make mistakes.

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