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Virtual Meetings and Real-Time Captioning

Janice Martin


After meeting virtually these past months, are your club members pros at virtual meetings and the platform used? Or are you still learning the available tips and tricks offered? Either way, making sure all attendees can participate as easily as possible includes considerations for those  with hearing loss!

Even if none of the regular attendees are living with hearing loss, guests and invited speakers might. Be sure to know how to take advantage of any hearing-related features available and be prepared to share how they work.

Most of today’s virtual meeting platforms have some version of real-time captioning option available. Some are free, others require a fee-based third-party add-on, still other platforms have their own service available for a fee. They can range from automated voice-to-text versions to services requiring an individual typing in content in real time.

Whatever meeting platform your club prefers, take some time to look into any real-time caption functionality it supports. Test it out. See what attendees think, especially those that will benefit from it the most. If the current platform isn’t quite up to par, do a little research and see if a change would be worth making.

If your club isn’t meeting through Sertoma’s national Zoom account, give it a try! Normally, real-time captioning is a fee-based service from Zoom or provided through a fee-based third party package. The good news is, in August Sertoma was accepted into a beta-testing program of an automated real-time caption package. This means that all meetings held through the national account have the service available with just a quick click of the mouse!

For anyone who attended the national or regional conventions, the service was up and running. Sure, because it’s automated, accents and speech patterns, along with microphone quality and background noise, can affect what the service “hears” but overall, accuracy prevailed.

To learn more about holding virtual meetings, check out Club Meetings: Pandemic Style. To reserve a meeting time/date through Sertoma’s national account, submit your request HERE.

Nothing like supporting Sertoma’s national mission among Sertomans!