Hearing Access: Zoom is Beta Testing Integrated Auto Captions

By Shari Eberts: For Entire Post, Go Here…

About a month ago, I penned an open letter to Zoom and other video conferencing companies asking them to make the high quality auto speech recognition (ASR) captioning available in their premium plans free for people with hearing loss. The gold standard of captioning is Communication Access Realtime Translation or CART, where a live transcriber types what is spoken in real time, but this is not always available or cost effective for personal use. Hence the need for free ASR captioning.

My post turned into a petition that has garnered more than 34,000 signatures. I am extremely proud of how the hearing loss community has come together to advocate for its needs in this time of crisis. I’ve been asked how long I will keep the petition going. The answer: Until we get the results we need. Sign or share the petition here.

Zoom’s Beta ASR Captioning Works Well

The beta captioning, called Live Transcript, worked very well. The placement was fine at the bottom of the screen, although it did obscure part of the slide presentation. You could open the captions as a full transcript in the sidebar, but they also remained at the bottom of the screen. The accuracy was quite good — I believe it is using the Otter AI platform — particularly since both presenters spoke very rapidly! Thank goodness the captions were there or I would have missed much of the content. You can see a screenshot of the captions in the post image above.

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