Solution: Call Captioning with Alexa and Echo Show

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: March 19, 2021.


The Problem: Hearing Challenges and Video Calls

Some people with hearing issues find video calls challenging because they can't always make out what people are saying. We wanted solutions that could help with that. .... More about the Problem


Solution: Call Captioning with Alexa and Echo Show

Says one of the Longevity Explorers:

"My Mom is enjoying video calls on her Echo Show, but she doesn’t hear everything I say."


Call Captioning for Echo Show

Amazon released a “Call Captioning” feature for the Echo Show in December 2020 that allows your loved one who is hard of hearing to see your voice transcribed to text on her screen.

I have been waiting a long time for video call captions as I have relatives needing this feature. Like me, if you have tried this before and it didn’t work for you, be sure to perform the critical step mentioned in the “first call” below, as just completing the four steps listed in the Amazon Alexa article on Amazon's website (Ref 1) is not sufficient.


Sounds great. Will that work on Mom’s Echo Show?

I have tested this and found it works on Echo Show 5, 8, and Echo Show 10 (gen 1,2,3).


See Call Captioning in Action in this Video

Here is a YouTube video with some examples of seniors using this feature.



Ok, how do I set this up?

Unfortunately, if your Mom already has the Echo Show, she will have to make a couple of settings changes on the device.

I suggest talking her through this step-by-step on the phone as you perform the changes on your own Echo Show:

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen
  • Tap Settings
  • Scroll down to Accessibility and Tap it
  • Scroll down to Call Captioning and enable it
  • Optional- if she wants to adjust text size and color:
    • Tap Call Captioning Preferences


There is one additional setting that you and your Mom must perform during the first Alexa video call. After that, this setting will remain on.


During the Alexa video call:

You should see and hear an announcement that the “screen is being transcribed for another party.”


screenshot 1

  • If you don’t see that, or you get an error, drop the call and connect back up
    • If that still fails, power cycle the Echo Show
      • If that fails, update the software under:
        • Settings- Device Options- Check Software Updates


During the FIRST Alexa Video call, tap the screen:


screenshot 2

  • Tap “Captions On”
    • If it says “Captions Off” it has already been enabled



screenshot 3


There is no control over the caption display location, and the transcription delay is currently rather large.

Note, you will only see the other person’s captions on your screen, not your own.






More Like This

This is part of a series of "Problems" and DIY Technology "Solutions" to the challenges faced by older adults, by Frank Engelman. 



Discuss this solution


from Dominic (unverified) at April 17, 2021

Thanks. Ive been pulling my hair out trying to get this feature to work on an echo show 2nd generation! Amazon have been very poor supporting this feature. It really shouldnt be so hard to use!


from Robin Glave (unverified) at July 23, 2021

Need help with "call captioning"


from faengelm (member) at July 24, 2021

Hello Robin,

Was there a certain step in the above process that did not work for you or that was confusing?

The most common problem I have seen in setting this up is that you must tap on the screen to enable "Captions ON" the first time. After that, it will be remembered that you asked to have captions displayed.

If you didn't do it on the first call, you can still activate it on any call and it will remember your selection.


from Aksel (unverified) at August 03, 2021

Hi there, I was wondering if you could tell me if it can caption the turkish language?


from faengelm (member) at August 22, 2022

Hello Aksel,
I still haven't seen any notice on the Turkish language, but Amazon recently made this announcement

 Call Captioning, which displays captions in near real time during one-on-one Alexa video calls, will now be supported in Spanish, French, and Portuguese languages and available to customers in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.


from faengelm (member) at August 06, 2021

I know that the Alexa Call Captioning message of "Your call is being transcribed to provide captioning for the other party, in English" hints at other languages.

I have been unable to find any list of other supported languages for Alexa Call Captioning, although Alexa Support mentions several other languages for Alexa Live Translation.

However, Alexa Live Translation does not work within Alexa Call Captioning


from Francine Kelly-Hooper (unverified) at December 02, 2021

Why is Alexa call captioning not offered in Canada?


from faengelm (member) at August 22, 2022

Hello Francine,

Amazon recently announced support for Call Caption in Canada.

Call Captioning, which displays captions in near real time during one-on-one Alexa video calls, will now be supported in Spanish, French, and Portuguese languages and available to customers in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.


from faengelm (member) at December 02, 2021

 Hello Francine,

Amazon tends to deploy features in the US before other countries. My friend in Canada complains about this and has given me some info on how he converts his account to the US.

Please see this post where I give details 


from Rita Quinn  (unverified) at March 24, 2022

My echo was given to me by my now deceased brother. I don’t know when he bought it. Probably two or three years ago. I need to know if I can get closed captions on the tv shows. I am having difficulty with I love Lucy.


from faengelm (member) at March 25, 2022

Hello Rita,
The closed captioning (subtitles) feature is actually part of the video, it's not really an Amazon Echo Show service.

If the video includes that feature, the Echo Show can display it.

I just tried "I love Lucy" on Amazon Prime Video on an Echo Show and I do get closed captions.

If you are not seeing closed captions while watching that video: 
* Pause the video
* Tap on the screen and select the icon in the upper right (looks like cartoon speech bubble)
* Tap Subtitles


from UI/UX guy (unverified) at April 09, 2022

The phrases “Caption ON” and “Captions OFF” can be confusing and ambiguous to users. They can’t be sure if it’s a status message (e.g. “the captions are on”) or an action button command (e.g. “turn captions on”). It may take up more screen space but clarifying what they mean with an addition word/verb would be helpful.


from LB Wilson (unverified) at August 21, 2022

I purchased the Echo for its subtitles but haven't been able to get them to work. The “screen is being transcribed for another party” message and “Captions OFF” showed up once initially and hasn't been seen again. I have tried toggling the Call Captioning, powering Echo up and down, and resetting to initial settings, but nothing has worked. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I think I'm going to try another initial reset next.


from faengelm (member) at August 22, 2022

Once the Echo Show is in the video call, swipe from the bottom of the screen and you should see a "CAPTIONS ON" icon that you can tap

This will "stick" so you don't need to turn it on for future video calls.


from LB Wilson (unverified) at August 22, 2022

Thanks, Frank. My recollection is that I only had the VIDEO OFF and MUTE buttons, but I will check when I next get access to the box. Thanks again for your help. Your webpage is the best one on the internet for this topic.


from LB Wilson (unverified) at August 22, 2022

Dear Frank.

I was able to have my mother swipe up during a Skype call and the CAPTIONS ON icon is indeed missing.

Best regards.


from faengelm (member) at August 23, 2022

Hello LB,

Thanks for the feedback. Here is a updated Amazon article stating that Call Captiong is availabe on all Echo Show decies, in certain languages, and locations.

Starting today, Call Captioning, which displays captions in near real time during one-on-one Alexa video calls, will now be supported in Spanish, French, and Portuguese languages and available to customers in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. In addition to helping customers who are deaf and hard of hearing, this language and country expansion reflects the diverse world we live in today, making video calls more inclusive, notably for those in multilingual homes, and helping loved ones stay connected across countries. Call Captioning is available on all Echo Show devices.

I'm in the US and if you tell me which Echo Show model you are using, I will let you know what software version I see it working on 

Just to be clear, are you using Alexa Calling or Skype? I believe Skype has its own Call Captioning, but I havent used it in a long time


from LB Wilson (unverified) at August 23, 2022

That may be the trick. I have been trying to use Skype but I'm not sure if the captioning will work with it on Echo. (I'm in the US using a Show 8). I think I'll try to set up the family for Alexa Calling or Drop In.


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Target customers & users: 
Aging individuals
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Big problem
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