Videoconferencing Captioning Tools for Zoom


There are three major categories of video accessibility tools that can be considered for Zoom meetings and webinars. Based on your specific need, this guide can assist with the process of finding the right tool for your audience. This guide is under regular revision in collaboration with various units and subject matter experts across ITS.

  1. CART
  2. Live Auto Transcription (Synchronous)
  3. Post-Video Captioning (Asynchronous)
Important: Zoom is HIPAA-compliant.


Communication Access Realtime Transcription (CART) involves human transcription in real time while someone is speaking or a video is playing. Most deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals require the level of accuracy that CART provides. 

CART providers are trained to:

  • Turn live audio into accurate captions in real-time.
  • Incorporate specialized terminology and proper names.
  • Infer the right words and spelling from context.
  • Compensate for noise and a range of voices. 

Helpful for: Hosts who know they have audience members in need of real-time transcription, or are otherwise required to provide ADA-compliant accommodations, for most deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who require the level of accuracy that CART can provide.

Note: University units are generally required to provide professional caption services (CART) or American Sign Language interpretation (ASL) upon request by individuals with disabilities. Questions about this or other employee accommodations can be directed to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) at


CART Suggested Solution:
Zoom supports professional CART providers through the built-in Live Transcript feature, which allows a participant in the meeting to share captions through the platform. The meeting host must start this feature by selecting “Live Transcript” from the meeting menu and assigning a participant (the CART provider) to provide captions. See Third- Party Captioning for Zoom for instructions. 

Purchasing of CART or ASL services by a unit from a third-party provider is negotiated exclusively by those two parties, without any university intermediary. When enlisting a CART Provider:

  • The university does not have a preferred vendor(s) for CART, but ScreenLine has experience working with U-M and Zoom. Contact or 517-627-2500.
  • See Third-Party Resources for examples of available vendors.
  • If further guidance is needed from Michigan Medicine, please visit the Michigan Medicine web portal or call 734-936-8000. The Michigan Medicine service center also recommends consulting the Transcription Services website.
Do not use live auto transcription (described below) at the same time as CART. This will prevent the CART transcriber from being able to type captions. Only one may be used at a time.

Live Auto Transcription (Synchronous)

Important: Live auto captioning does not automatically qualify as an ADA accommodation. 

Live Auto Transcription for live events uses automatic speech recognition (ASR) to caption livestreamed events in real time. 

Helpful for: Hosts interested in enhancing the general accessibility of their meeting in real time for the benefit of the following participant types:

  • Hearing individuals who benefit from audio prompts, such as some people with learning disabilities.
  • Individuals who speak English as an additional language.
  • Situations to compensate for low audio quality and enhance understanding.
Note: Depending on a number of factors, the accuracy of this service may vary widely. Microphones can greatly improve audio quality and all speakers should be encouraged to use them. Although auto-captioning technology is continuing to improve, there will be noticeable accuracy issues.

Live Auto Transcription Suggested Solution:

U-M is currently piloting a Zoom beta product for auto transcription. Please see Zoom Live Transcription for details. 

Post-Video Captioning (Asynchronous)

Post-video captioning allows for captions to be added to recordings after the meeting has concluded. 

Helpful for: Hosts who have used some form of real-time captioning and/or who’s content is to be made available asynchronously to members of their intended audience, including: 

  • Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
  • Hearing individuals who benefit from audio prompts, such as some people with learning disabilities.
  • Individuals who speak English as an additional language.
  • Situations where transcription must be 100% accurate. (This will require editing.)

Post-Video Captioning Suggested Solutions:

The Zoom Audio Transcript option (under Cloud Recording in your Zoom settings) allows you to automatically transcribe the audio of a meeting or webinar that you record to the cloud. After this transcript is processed, it appears as a separate .vtt text file in the list of recorded meetings. In addition, you have the option to display the transcript text within the video itself, similar to a closed caption display.

MiVideo is U-M’s cloud-based media streaming service. File owners can order, edit, and delete captions for audio and video files, including Zoom recordings. This service is provided by MiVideo using automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. A searchable, interactive transcript is also provided.

Additional Resources:

Important: Cloud recordings are required for Zoom transcripts.
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, June 1, 2021