Live video captioning now available on Zoom through new tool

29 Oct 2020

Image: © Paolese/’s new tool makes it possible to caption Zoom calls in real time, with the hope of boosting record keeping and accessibility.

With millions now using Zoom across the world as remote working becomes the new norm, has launched a new tool that it hopes will boost accessibility on the platform. uses AI to produce transcriptions in real time that combine audio transcription, speaker identification, inline photos and key phrases. Now, this ability has been added to Zoom, with real-time captioning now available on video calls and webinars for Otter for Business and Zoom Pro subscribers or higher.

The company said that in addition to boosting productivity and accessibility for those who are hard of hearing, the new feature is aimed at supporting international organisations using English as their official business language.

“By adding this new feature, removes the significant problem of miscommunication from remote work, heightening organisations’ productivity and efficiency,” said Sam Liang, CEO and founder of

Boosting accessibility

The company launched Otter Live Notes earlier this year, allowing for Zoom participants to open a live interactive transcript in a video conference call or after a meeting. More recently, Otter For Events was introduced to capture conversations and turn them into interactive, collaborative live transcripts.

Last month, Zoom published a blog post describing its efforts to make the platform as aligned as possible with A11Y, an initiative launched to make digital accessibility easier and more readily available.

The video-conferencing platform introduced new accessibility options to make it easier for sign language interpreters to be visible on screen. This included multi-pinning of speakers on screen so that, for the user’s view only, the interpreter and speaker stay in the same spot no matter who is speaking.

The host or co-host can spotlight up to nine videos so that everyone sees the same spotlighted videos. It is also now possible to move an interpreter’s video tile closer to what’s being shared so that the user can see them more comfortably.

Writing at the time, Zoom’s marketing manager, Jen Hill, said: “While we know that nothing can be a ‘perfect fit’ for everyone’s needs, we are continuously working to improve our products and services. We work diligently with many leading accessibility organisations to make Zoom as accessibility-friendly as possible.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic