Tip of the Month: Automatic Captions

Being inclusive means making everyone feel welcome and wanted. At Wholespire, formerly Eat Smart Move More South Carolina, it’s part of our work to ensure our work environments – both internal and external – are welcoming. We hope our efforts spill over into our personal lives, as well as into our chapter and partner environments too.

In our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, in which staff spent days diligently developing together, we pinpoint the importance of inclusion by making it part of our first strategic intention. We even defined the word inclusion to help set the stage and explain to readers what we mean. In the strategic plan, we borrowed Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension’s definition.

Inclusion is an outcome to ensure those who are diverse actually feel and/or are welcomed. Inclusion outcomes are met when you, your institution, and your program are truly inviting to all, and to the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes and development opportunities with an organization, group, governing body.

In this not-so-new virtual working world of ours, we’ve all had to scramble to adopt new ways of doing things; new ways of communicating; new ways of engaging with each other – whether we liked it or not. While it’s easy for many of us to pivot and adopt new work habits, it isn’t easy for others, especially when technology is involved. But, through trials and tribulations, our Wholespire staff have come through with pointers on how to make virtual meetings welcoming to those who might need a little help understanding and communicating.

Providing automatic captions is a great way to be, as Tuskegee University says, truly inviting to all. Whether it’s the inability to use your computer speakers at the time of the virtual meeting, the lack of earphones or pods, or the inability to hear well, automatic captions are the new standard in this not-so-new time of working remotely.

Zoom was quick to ensure all user accounts, whether free or paid, had automatic captioning capabilities. That right. All free Zoom account holders can enable automatic captions. Plus, Zoom will provide a transcript of the meeting you attended.

We’ve pulled together instructions for enabling captions in Zoom, various internet browsers, and on MAC computers. Download How to Enable Automatic Captions. Note this document is not a comprehensive list.

You should also consider making your videos accessible to all viewers. YouTube, Venmo, and Facebook provide those capabilities.

So, as you can see, creating virtually- and digitally-inclusive environments for everyone has become a priority for many online tech service providers and organizations like Wholespire.