Closed Captions for Online Yoga Classes

A Step-By-Step Guide to Enable and Share Subtitles for Virtual Yoga Classes
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written by Crunch Ranjani

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us yoga teachers are now comfortable with teaching yoga online, whether on Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. However, how familiar are you with closed captions for your online classes?

In this article, we explore why closed captions are a useful addition to our online yoga class, a step-by-step guide on how to enable them for Zoom, and some other options you can consider to add captions to your virtual yoga classes.

Many thanks to Landen Stacy (he/him), Owner of Emerald Yoga Studio in Pembroke, Massachusetts for sharing his knowledge of closed captioning with The Connected Yoga Teacher community in this interview.

Why Use Closed Captions?

Many of us have not explored the use of captions when we are teaching yoga online, yet adding them to our classes, and letting our students know that captions are available are a great way to make our online classes more accessible. 


Closed captions can be a useful addition to a virtual yoga class, not only for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss, but also for students who may have difficulty processing what the teacher is saying or who may have missed a verbal cue. It can also make it easier for students who may not be familiar with the teacher’s accent or who may not be native speakers of the language to follow along. By making our classes more accessible to an often overlooked population, we can broaden our audience and reach more students who may not be able to benefit from online yoga classes that do not offer closed captioning.


In addition to this, closed captioning allows students who may be practicing in sound-sensitive environments to follow the class, and captions can easily be translated into foreign languages as well. As an added benefit, captions can help improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and increase the searchability of your videos.

Enabling Closed Captions and Live Transcription on Zoom


Closed Captioning

  • Zoom desktop client (enter or view captions)

Windows: version 3.5.37712.0111 or higher
macOS: version 3.5.37712.0111 or higher
Linux: version 3.5.37712.0111 or higher

  • Zoom mobile app (view captions only)

Android: version 4.0.21521.0116 or higher
iOS: version 4.0.21521.0116 or higher

Live Transcription

      • Account type: Pro, Business, Education, Enterprise
      • Note: Approved K-12 accounts and other accounts upon request can also have access to this feature.
      • Zoom desktop client for Windows, macOS: version 5.0.2 or higher
      • Zoom mobile app for Android and iOS: version 5.0.2 or higher

If you do not have the required version, open the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device and update it.


Closed Captions vs. Live Transcriptions

You may be wondering what the difference is between Closed Captions and Live Transcriptions on Zoom. The Closed Captions function allows either the host, a participant, or a third-party service to create captions in real time during the meeting, while the Live Transcription function utilizes AI technology to automatically generate captions.

Closed Captions require additional effort on your part, in that you either have to type the captions yourself, assign someone else in the call to write them, or use a third-party service. These captions tend to be more accurate, particularly when technical or context-specific words are frequently used (e.g. asana names or other Sanskrit words). There is also a possibility to provide captions in a variety of languages.

 On the other hand, Live Transcriptions are easy to use and are generally accurate with little effort on the part of the host. However, there may be more mistakes when it comes to yoga-specific words, and captions are only available in English at the moment. Live transcription is also not available for use in Breakout Rooms, and if you are in an area with a significant amount of background noise, the caption quality is likely to be impacted.

 At the time of writing, Live Transcriptions are not available for the Free / Basic tier on Zoom, but users can expect it by Fall 2021.

How To Enable Closed Captions and Live Transcriptions

  1. Log into Zoom on a web browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer), and you should see your Profile page.
  2. In the left sidebar, click on Settings.
  3. Ensure you are in the Meeting tab.
  4. Scroll down to the section In Meeting (Advanced).
  5. Find the section Closed captioning
  6. Click on the button to turn on closed captions. It should be blue to indicate it is enabled.
  7. Check the box Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side-panel in-meeting.
      • If using the Free / Basic version of Zoom, check the box Allow use of caption API Token to integrate with 3rd-party Closed Captioning services. This will allow you to use an external service to generate captions so you don’t have to type them in yourself.
  8. You should see a pop-up that says Your settings have been updated.
  9. You are now ready to use closed captions and live transcriptions in your online yoga classes.

    How To Start Closed Captions and Live Transcriptions in a Meeting

    1. Start your Zoom meeting as usual.
    2. Click on the Live Transcription or Closed Caption (CC) button. If you do not see this button, click on the More (three dots) button, and there should be options for Live Transcript or Closed Caption.
    3. Click on Enable Auto-Transcription to allow the system to generate subtitles for your meeting.
    4. If using Closed Captions instead, choose if you will be typing the captions (I will type), or assign someone in the meeting to type (Assign a participant to type), or use the API token to allow a third-party service to generate captions (Copy the API token).
    5. Once either Closed captions or live transcription is enabled you can see additional options by clicking on the small button next to the Live Transcription or Closed Caption (CC) button or the More (three dots) button.
        • Show / Hide Subtitles – Allows you to show or hide subtitles on your screen. Note: This does not impact if your students can see the subtitles or not.
        • View Full Transcript – Generates a pop-up screen with the entire transcript. If you would like to save the transcript, click on Save Transcript.
        • Subtitle Settings – Allows you to change the font size of subtitles on your screen, and enable / disable screen reader alerts.

    How Students Can Access Subtitles (Computer)

    1. Students join your Zoom session as usual.
    2. Click on the Live Transcription or Closed Caption (CC) button or the More (three dots) button. Students will see options for the following:
        • Show / Hide Subtitles – Allows them to show or hide subtitles on their screen.
        • View Full Transcript – Generates a pop-up screen with the entire transcript.
        • Subtitle Settings – Allows students to adjust the font size of subtitles on their screen, and enable / disable screen reader alerts.

    How Students Can Access Subtitles (Mobile Device)

    1. Students will need to click on the ⚙️ Settings and click on Meeting.
        • By default, Closed Captioning will be turned off. Tap to enable.
    2. Students join your Zoom session as usual. Subtitles will automatically appear on screen when available.
    3. Click on the More (three dots) button. Students will see the option to View Full Transcript.
        • Note that students will not be able to see your video if they are reading the full transcript.

    Recording with Closed Captions or Live Transcription

    For Zoom users who have Business, Education, or Enterprise licenses with cloud recording enabled and account owner or admin privileges, Zoom offers the option of an audio transcription of your session, alongside your video and audio recording. In this tier, you also have the option to display this transcript within the video itself.


    To find out more about how to enable, record and use Zoom’s audio transcription service, check out this guide.


    If you are not on one of these higher-priced plans on Zoom, you can alternatively use a third-party service to generate captions for your recordings, or use a video editing tool to add subtitles manually. Uploading a video to YouTube or Facebook also allows you to auto-generate captions for your videos.


    For a more in-depth guide with screenshots, images, and graphics for you to follow along in setting up your Zoom account for closed captions or live transcription, grab Landen’s free PDF guide, or watch the live interview with Landen.


    Are you using closed captions or live transcriptions in your virtual yoga classes? Let us know in the comments!


    About the Author

    Crunch Ranjani is a copywriter & editor who specializes in writing content for health & wellness professionals.
    She loves to travel and has been a digital nomad since 2013.
    Visit Crunch's website.