Live captions and transcription for Android

Your Android phone, now more accessible with captions and transcription.

When using a desktop or laptop, why not check out how to bring live captions to your Chrome browser?

Since the Android 10 update, Live Captions are baked into the operating system. It was so important during the Android 10 announcement event, that they made sure everyone saw the feature in action. Even when at the time it was only available on select phones (read: Google’s own pixel phones). Live Captions is incredibly useful as it generates real-time captions according to the audio that’s being played.

Since then, Android has continued to pursue the Accessibility first approach with newer and better features for their phones.

Continuing to innovate, things have changes and if you experience hearing loss, are deaf, or like me, enjoy browsing the web with your phone’s sound turned off, then this is definitely a feature you will be excited about. The demonstration images below were taken on my Samsung device but this functionality is available on any phone that runs the Android 10 or above operating system. For those among us that like to count, we are currently on the Android 11 version.

Live captions for Android

To turn on live captions you will either navigate to a menu for more granular control over how the captions are generated, or you can simply use your volume control buttons to get access to the features default mode.

Volume buttons

Using the volume button will bring up an additional menu icon above or underneath the volume slider. Tapping this will give you access to live captions and once activated, any video, podcast, or audio message on your phone will be captioned in a small black box.

Enable captions on android
Volume button and more caption settings

For a larger view of this box, double tap it and it will give you a bigger screen with more captions available.

Live captions on Android
Menu for more control

If you’d like a little more control over how the captions appear on your screen, have a profanity filter or select the language used, you will have to navigate to your phone’s settings menu and find the accessibility features.

Accessibility menu on Android
Accessibility menu on Android

Within accessibility you look for those focused on hearing enhancements features and open this menu. Now you will be able to activate the live Caption functionality.

Live caption on Android options
Live caption on Android options

Every snippet of audio is captioned in real time on your phone’s screen. You can double tap to enlarge the caption window or drag and drop it off screen to disable this function.

Source: Google, Making digital media more accessible

Live transcription for Android

Let’s take the accessibility features of our phone a step further and enable us to transcribe everything said in a real life conversation. Not only will this be a useful feature for people with various levels of hearing impairments, it also give every Android user the ability to help and support those in need with just your phone. As long as you know where to look.

Source: Android, Live Transcribe

First up, navigate to the settings menu and open the accessibility features. Here, as before, you will select those focused on hearing impairment. In addition to the live caption function discussed before you can activate live transcription with a single toggle.

Live transcription on Android
Live transcription on Android

When turned on, your phone now has an additional icon at the bottom right corner. This is the activation button for Live Transcriptions.

Live transcription with your phone

Taping this opens a window and all speech picked up by your phone’s microphone is transcribed live on screen.

More Accessibility tips and tricks?

Why not read more about Live captioning on the Chrome Browser? The latest in Google’s effort to bring more accessibility features to as many user around the world as possible.

After all, one of Google’s core principles is “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

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