Zoom is set to eliminate one of the worst aspects of video conferencing

Zoom meeting
(Image credit: Zoom Video Communications)
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Zoom (opens in new tab) has unveiled a new feature that should make video conferencing (opens in new tab) more accessible, while reducing the likelihood of miscommunication.

Courtesy of a collaboration with speech-to-text (opens in new tab) platform Otter.ai (opens in new tab), Zoom meetings will now offer a live caption feature. With the option enabled, the presenter’s words will appear on-screen in near real-time (at a delay of roughly two seconds).

The feature is designed primarily to allow users with hearing impairments to follow the thread of conversation with greater ease. However, it could also prove a boon for non-fluent English speakers that require a little extra help, as well as anyone that suffers audio drop-out as a result of a poor connection.

If the standalone Otter.ai service is anything to go by, the Zoom (opens in new tab) live captions feature - available under Pro and Business plans - is likely to be quick and highly accurate.

The main caveat, however, is that the service only currently supports the English language, which somewhat limits the scope of the new feature.

Zoom live captions

The new Zoom live captions option builds upon an existing integration (opens in new tab) with Otter.ai, announced in May, that allows users to generate a full transcription of their meetings.

These transcriptions are created in real-time and can be browsed, highlighted and annotated on the go - and also allow late joiners to catch up on anything they’ve missed.

“At a time when most meetings, events, and classes are going virtual, remote workers and students increasingly struggle to listen and pay attention while taking notes,” wrote (opens in new tab) Sam Liang, Otter.ai founder and CEO.

“Now more than ever, businesses and schools need tools that can capture information accurately and make it accessible immediately.”

Off the back of its partnership with Zoom, Otter.ai has seen a dramatic uptick in usage. The platform has transcribed more than one billion audio minutes to date, in large part driven by the influx in Zoom meetings.

Powered by machine learning algorithms, the speech-to-text service should only improve over time, giving remote workers new ways to engage with video meetings in the process.

Via ZDNet (opens in new tab)

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.