Autocaption Hacks

Autocaption Hacks

Video conferences are becoming a more standard element of every-day business. While many Deaf and HoH people require the detail and reliability of CART services, auto-generated captions and transcripts are improving and have become an essential access tool for many people with cognitive and auditory processing issues. However, many video conference platforms still fail to provide reliable or low-latency auto-captions, and many that do require expensive licenses that not all users can afford. This guide will show you some tricks for how to access auto-captioning when:

  1. You are attending a virtual event and they have failed to provide CART* or auto-caption access
  2. You are hosting a virtual event and your institution or organization has failed to provide CART* or auto-caption access

*CART stands for Captioning and Real-Time Transcription. This services is provided by a human, usually using a stenograph or phonetic transcription technology. Automated captions are not a suitable replacement for CART services when CART is requested by a disabled event attendee. Although auto-captions are improving in accuracy and speed, they still miss essential social context and often fail to interpret jargon from complex specialized topics. These errors can be humorous for attendees that can recognize the mistake, but for attendees that are relying on captions to provide accurate information, these errors are frustrating and isolating.

!@#$ Not AGAIN! What to do when the event you are attending doesn’t have captions.

For these options to work, you must have your speakers on. The following application may allow you to pipe audio to caption software while muting your speakers:

Step 1: Open an empty google slide or PowerPoint document

Step 2: Activate auto-captions (for google, you must be using Chrome browser and you have to begin the presentation first)

Activating captions in google slides

(For info on running automatic captions in PowerPoint, visit:

Step 3: Start slide show

Alternative outside of slideshows: WebCaptioner (also requires Chrome browser):

Step 4: Arrange your windows so you can see both the video conference and your slide captions (on windows, hit keys alt + tab to chose a new window to focus on, the slide show will remain in the background.)

*Cringe* We can’t provide captions to our attendees because [reason].

  1. Whenever an event organizer is sharing a screen, they should have autocaptions from Google or PowerPoint set up to be visible.
  2. If your video conference platform allows screen sharing from multiple participants, have an organizer share their captions, attendees can choose to pin this window to follow along.

These solutions can also work for in-person events. If your device is able to hear the presenter, google slides, PowerPoint, or can transcribe for you. If you are an event organizer, you can set up a projector specifically to display autocaptions from any service you are using.

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