Captions for Live Events

All virtual public events, such as panel discussions, invited talks or speakers series, workshops and trainings, and performances should provide closed captions for viewers and participants.

Automatic captions have been enabled for all Zoom accounts not on the HIPAA instance. You can manage this feature in your Zoom settings (instructions below). We recommend advertising that automatic captions will be provided in your promotional materials. When announcing the program, include language similar to the sample text below. In an event registration form, do not include fields to collect information about disability or accommodation needs. Have registrants contact someone separately from the registration process.


Disability-Related Accommodations:

Live auto captions will be provided for this event. If you need additional disability-related accommodation, please contact: ________(person/office), at phone: ________ or email: ________. Requests should be made by ________ (date usually at least two weeks in advance of the event).

CART or live captions

Individual requests for closed captions for accommodation purposes should use CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) services, which meet accessibility standards for accuracy.

  • If you receive a request for an accommodation, including captioning or ASL interpreters, from a Yale student registered with Student Accessibility Services, please contact Student Accessibility Services.
  • If you receive a request for an accommodation from a non-Yale participant, it is the responsibility of the hosting program, department, or institution to provide CART captions, an ASL interpreter, or other reasonable accommodation as requested. Both Student Accessibility Services and the Office of Institutional Equity and Access can provide recommendations for ASL interpreters and advice concerning other requested accommodations.

Yale does not currently have a preferred vendor for CART services but can recommend the following companies, below. There are dozens of companies that can provide this service, and it may be in your best interest to inquire with many for the best price. However, please note that demand for these services is currently very high. You should schedule CART services as early in the planning phase for your event as possible.

Automatic closed captions

Automatic captions using Artificial Intelligence (AI) are also now available in Zoom (Note: Zoom HIPAA accounts do not have this feature). These captions should be enabled for your account for use at all times. While automatic captions may not meet accessibility accuracy standards, they are often sufficient for many users who need them and provide benefits for many who prefer captions.

To enable Automatic captions:

  1. Log into the zoom web portal ( and access Settings–> In Meeting (Advanced)–> Closed captioning.

  2. Click the toggle button to enable Closed captioning, then check the box next to “Enable live transcription service.” This will ensure that viewers can see a transcript in the side panel during the Zoom session, or the captions running in real time across their Zoom screen.

  3. You can also choose here to enable your Zoom session participants to save the transcript by toggling on the “Save captions” button.

  4. At the start of a meeting, the host must click the “Live Transcript” button and “Enable Auto-Transcription” for users to be able to view and use these captions or the transcript. This button appears inside the event itself, in the tools along the bottom of the Zoom session screen.

  5. Note: The captions and/or transcript visible during a Zoom session are not captured in recordings. You will still need to have a recorded session you would like to distribute to the public captioned through a third party vendor.

Steps to take in your Zoom settings

Regardless of whether or not you receive a captioning or ASL interpreter request, you should enable the Closed Caption feature on your Zoom account.

In addition, if using a CART provider, please be familiar with how to assign a participant to type closed captions. This allows the CART provider to integrate their captions into the Zoom session.

Instructions for running accessible Zoom events

In addition to the captioning practices outlined above, there are other steps you can take to make your Zoom sessions and events more accessible for people with disabilities. Please see our help guidance for more Zoom accessibility best practices.

Instructions for captioning recorded events for distribution

If you plan to distribute a recording of an event, talk, workshop, or performance, it should be professionally captioned. Yale currently has preferred vendor agreements with two captioning vendors, 3Play Media, and Rev. Our guidance for captioning multimedia contains more information on this topic.

Accessible Conferences

More information about accessibility accommodations for conferences is available via the resources listed here.