Tired of Taking Notes in Virtual Meetings? Have the Service Provider Do It for You

Service providers are jockeying for position in the virtual meeting market. To improve their standing, some providers are incorporating live transcription functionality into their virtual meeting platforms. Find out what this functionality does and how it works.

Trying to take detailed notes during a meeting when you want to actively participate in it is an exercise in futility. You either miss parts of the conversation or you end up with cryptic notes that do not make sense when you review them later.

Fortunately, you no longer have to choose between good notes and good conversation when you attend virtual meetings. Some virtual meeting service providers are now incorporating transcription functionality into their platforms. This functionality is usually referred to as live transcriptions or real-time transcriptions.

How It Works

Live transcription’s roots lie in the closed captioning technology that has been around for decades. Although this technology has advanced over the years, closed captioning for a live event such as a TV news broadcast still involves a human component. Typically, a stenographer listens to the event in real-time and types what is being said into the software that adds the captions.

To provide the live transcription functionality, virtual meeting service providers have replaced the human component with automatic speech recognition (ASR) and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The result is an automated closed captioning system that is cost effective. The captions it produces are not only displayed on screen but also saved in a transcript file.


If you are intrigued by the notion of letting live transcription document what is said in your virtual meetings, it is a good idea to do some further research. Live transcription is in its infancy, so it is likely to undergo many changes as virtual meeting service providers incorporate new technologies and features.

If you decide that you want to take advantage of live transcription, you will need to use a virtual meeting service provider that offers this functionality. Here are some key questions and considerations to keep in mind when selecting one:

  • Is the live transcription functionality available in all or only some of the provider’s virtual meeting subscriptions? Most providers offer free and paid subscriptions of their virtual meeting services. Plus, there are often different tiers of paid subscriptions. You will need to find out exactly which offerings include the live transcription functionality.
  • Are there any requirements or restrictions? Like most digital offerings, there are usually requirements and restrictions when using the live transcription functionality. For instance, at the time of this writing, Microsoft Teams’ live transcription functionality is limited to scheduled meetings in which the spoken language is US English. Plus, the Teams desktop app must be used.
  • Does the live transcription functionality require additional programs to be installed? Most of the time, no additional programs are required. However, there are exceptions. For example, at the time of this writing, you can enable AI-powered live captions in Google Meet video calls as well as in video and audio content that is playing in the Google Chrome browser. However, to save those captions in a transcript file, you need to download a third-party extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  • What features does the live transcription functionality include? Virtual meeting service providers sometimes include helpful features in the live transcription functionality. For instance, some virtual meeting service providers (e.g., Microsoft TeamsCisco Webex) include speaker labeling in the transcripts so you know who said what.