The popular video conferencing platform, Zoom, announced this week that it will be making the automatic closed captioning option available for free accounts.
Hearing health advocates have hailed the announcement, which likely wouldn’t have taken place if not for the tireless efforts of people like HHTM Editor, Shari Eberts, who started a petition in April that has garnered over 80,000 signatures asking for the company to make the change. Over the past several months, Shari’s advocacy work has been highlighted by NPR, as well as an op-ed in the Washington Post.
The announcement by Zoom of the change, can be read below:
As part of our commitment to connecting users across the world, we are focused on continually enhancing our features to provide a platform that is accessible to all of the diverse communities we serve. Among the Zoom Meetings accessibility features we offer to all users are manual closed captioning, keyboard accessibility, pinning or spotlighting interpreter video, screen reader support, and a range of accessibility settings. Now we are excited to announce that we are looking to take our efforts a step further and are working towards making automatic closed captioning —what we refer to as “Live Transcription”— available to all of our users in the fall of 2021.
To help free account holders who require Live Transcription, starting today and up until the feature’s broader release, we will also be offering automatic closed captioning to meeting hosts upon request. To sign up, please enter your information in this form. You will receive a confirmation email with more details. Since we expect a high volume of requests, we appreciate your patience as we work to make automatic closed captioning available for all of our users.
To see more details on the accessibility features we offer today and how to use them, please take a look at our Happy Meetings for Everyone blog for a quick tutorial video. For more information on Live Transcription please visit our support page.
“There is still much work to do on making all video communications across all platforms, formats and delivery methods more accessible for people with hearing loss,” commented Shari Eberts on her blog, Livingwithhearingloss.com. “But here, we have taken an important first step. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who raised their voice to advocate for our needs.”