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TEDx talk about accessibility and captions


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  • HearPeers Heroes

Just watched it!  The pandemic really did accelerate speech to text automatic captioning in so many ways.  Many of those ways are completely free even today.  Some of the ways were originally free during the height of the pandemic but now charge.

free speech to text…

live captions (captions ALL audio through the chrome browser even on MAC computers)

live transcribe on android phones/tablets (captions live voice)

built in speech to text in notes on iPhones (captions live voices)


limited free with paid options for other features/more time….

GoogleMeet (captions live video calls)

Otter.ai (captions live voice and dials in for captioning video calls)


Have you tried these and other speech to text options?  Which are your favorites?

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  • HearPeers Heroes

@Mary Beth at work we use Microsoft Teams for meetings - since COVID almost all of our meetings are on Teams.  It has automatic captioning, and it's almost always pretty helpful, though today I was talking to a coworker and had shared my desktop because we were looking at a weird and badly organized spreadsheet that was crammed with data that was ALMOST helpful.  At one point I moved my Teams window onto the monitor that was shared, and Connie saw herself and my captions and she laughed and said, "WHOA, I did NOT say that!"  and I glanced down at the captioning and it apparently thought she'd said gynecology, which, given that we were talking about a product made for the Automotive Aftermarket Division, nope.

But it can be VERY helpful.

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I use Otter.ai because in my experience it has better quality than Zoom's built-in captions (those seem to be a complete letdown, they were made available so late vs other video call platforms and the quality appears inferior). When I ran Otter with Google Meets the accuracy of the transcript was about the same as the captions in the Meets.

It does sometimes struggle with accents and particularly with foreign names. It rarely gets those right, but I noticed that it actually improves over time and when they are repeated in many sessions, Otter might finally start recognising those names.

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