The digital communications platform Zoom announced Sept. 13 that the company will be launching a new live translation feature to the platform within the next year. The company has been exploring translation options for a while now, in order to accommodate the platform’s global usership, which skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This announcement comes just a couple of months after Zoom acquired Kites, a German start-up specializing in artificial intelligence and machine translation. When Zoom acquired Kites in June 2021, the company’s leadership stated that it was planning to take advantage of the newly acquired company’s technological capacity to develop translation features for the platform.
“Zoom connects users across the world, and this expansion of our transcription and translation features will help to overcome the language barrier that can prevent dynamic communication and collaboration,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the new live translation feature, as well as a host of other new features to be added to the platform.
The forthcoming feature will allow users to access live transcriptions in 30 languages and live translations in 12, though Zoom did not specify which languages exactly would be available on the platform. In addition to the live translation and transcription features, the company also announced a number of other features to be added to the platform, such as an improved whiteboard function and a series of updates to the platform’s chat feature.
In a statement to the press, Vasco Pedro, the CEO and co-founder of language operations platform Unbabel, said he believes Zoom’s new live translation feature is a major improvement to the platform, and could give businesses more opportunities to expand globally.
“Today’s launch of Zoom’s live translation service validates the important role that languages play in the globalization of the workplace,” he said. “We see this as a signal that language translation technology will be infused in every function of the enterprise. It’s not just about talking to customers in their native languages, but talking to coworkers, vendors, etc. in whatever language they prefer. The whole workplace is becoming multilingual.”
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