Online meeting solutions have been around for a while, but their popularity suddenly spiked when the pandemic kept everyone away from the office. In particular, Zoom has emerged as a great software solution for real-time meetings that has powered the ‘work from home’ movement over the past several years. In the process, it has become the golden standard and many organizations use it by default for all kinds of formal and informal meetings.

For the workers, this implies the need to master the finer points of Zoom and start using its advanced features to their benefit. One of the first skills they need to develop is how to transcribe the content of a meeting they just attended into a text format. This article can help in that regard, and we will try to make the explanation of this procedure as simple as we possibly can.

How to Transcribe Zoom Meetings

How to Transcribe Zoom Meetings

What is a Zoom Meeting Transcript?

A transcript of a meeting is a text document that includes the entire verbal content of the shared session, lined up in proper order. It is a complete recounting of what was said in the meeting, and a reference to draw information from when discussing the meeting and its conclusions. Each speaker is identified in the transcript and the sentences he uttered are clearly marked with his name. This allows for improved accountability, as each person’s words can be quoted verbatim.

The content of a transcript is further contextualized by including time stamps next to each speaker’s comments. In other words, a transcript reads exactly like a script in reverse, detailing the meeting on a minute-by-minute basis. On the other hand, a transcript doesn’t include explanations of the background nor does it mention the tone of each reply in the conversation, which makes it somewhat less informative than an audio recording of the meeting.

Why Do You Need to Transcribe Zoom Meetings?

Some of the reasons why you would want access to a transcript of a Zoom meeting are universal and completely obvious. Others may be specific to the type of company you are working for, the size of your team, your official role, etc. Here are some scenarios in which having an accurate transcript as soon after the meeting as possible could make a big difference:

How to Transcribe a Live Zoom Meeting?

Zoom offers multiple possibilities for creating a transcription of a meeting, including displaying captions on the screen in real time. This option is very useful when there is a need to increase the operational efficiency of a remote team, and is especially valuable for multicultural teams that may not share the same native language and business vocabulary. To make this possible, you just need to select the right settings in your Zoom app and the rest will happen automatically. Here is how you can turn on live transcription during Zoom calls using only native tools.

Step 1 – Access your Zoom account and open the Settings menu

Step 2 – Choose the Meetings tab from the navigation bar positioned near the top of the page

Choose the Meetings tab in Zoom

Choose the Meetings tab in Zoom

Step 3 – Choose the In Meeting option and scroll down until you see items related to captions.

Step 4 – Find Automated Captions, Full Transcript, and Save Captions options and check all of them

Step 5 – Start a Zoom call normally and a transcript will be actively displayed on the screen

How to Transcribe Audio from a Zoom Meeting?

There is another, slightly different task that also holds outsized importance – how to create a transcription of a meeting that already ended. If the audio was recorded during the meeting and the file is undamaged, it won’t be hard to extract a text transcription from it. Zoom has its own tool for that purpose, and it’s extremely simple to use. Here is how to make sure the meeting will be recorded and to access the recording along with a full transcript.

Step 1 – Before the meeting, go to Settings in Zoom, choose Recordings, and turn on the ‘Create audio transcript’ function

Select the Create audio transcript Function

Select the Create audio transcript Function

Step 2 – Conduct your meeting normally while creating a cloud recording of it

Step 3 – When the meeting ends, go to the Recordings menu, and find the audio recording file there

Step 4 – After you play the recording, the text transcript will be displayed on the right side

Step 5 – Correct parts of the transcript and enter the proper names of the speakers, before downloading the transcription file and saving it locally

Frequently Asked Questions about Transcribing a Zoom Meeting?

How long does it take for Zoom to automatically create a transcription of the meeting?

If you enabled automatic creation of audio transcript, it will take some time to complete. This time is usually twice longer than the duration of the meeting, but it could vary based on several factors. In most cases, a transcript will be available a couple of hours after the meeting ends, at the latest.

How accurate are transcriptions made with Zoom’s built-in tools?

Truth be told, errors are a common occurrence with automated transcriptions, no matter which tool you decide to use. One key advantage of Zoom’s transcription tool is that it gives you an opportunity to check the quality of the text and make changes as you find necessary, thus improving the final version.

Can I search for a specific phrase in an audio transcript?

Yes, audio transcripts generated by Zoom are fully searchable. That means it’s enough to know a single phrase that was uttered during a certain part of the meeting, and you will be able to identify that part and jump straight to it. This is another reason why having a meeting transcript is highly recommended.

Final Thoughts

Zoom may not be the only virtual meeting software that is catching buzz in the market, but it has already settled into a leading position and it doesn’t seem in any danger of losing it. Consequently, workers of all experience levels face a mandate to become more proficient with advanced features of this powerful tool. Understanding the importance of transcriptions and learning how to generate and edit them in Zoom is a great start – this task is fairly simple and it creates tangible benefits for the entire team. If you are a frequent Zoom user and have created transcripts before, let us know in the comments which method you think is the best.


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