Zoom is one of the world’s leading video calling platforms, promising to add a key feature in the not too distant future: support for translation in multiple languages, in real time. To achieve this, the company behind the service announced the purchase of Kites GmbH, a German startup.
In its announcement, Zoom singled out Kites as a firm dedicated to “developing real-time machine translation solutions.” It was founded in 2015 with the work of doctors Alex Waibel and Sebastian Stüker, from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. With the acquisition, the company falls under the orbit of the communications service and becomes an important resource, both technical and human.
What’s really cool here is that Zoom steps up to bring a feature with really outstanding application potential. Real-time, multi-language translation is a feature you can mark a before and after for the service. And the company does not want to miss the opportunity, especially because of its adoption capacity in work and educational settings.
The Kites team of 12 research scientists will join Zoom engineers to advance the field of machine translations. The goal of the platform is to provide one more tool to “improve productivity and efficiency” during meetings.
Zoom adds technology to provide automatic translations in real time
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If Zoom succeeds in applying Kites technology correctly in its service, it can achieve a very significant advantage compared to its competitors. In a market where more and more solutions for video calls or video conferencing appear, technical superiority makes the difference.
In fact, the field of real-time machine translations has not yet had a broad dominance. It is true that some companies developed related technologies, but their application is not simple. This is for a logical reason: not all people speak in the same way. Therefore, each individual has a different tone of voice, speech rate and accent that mean that the translation is not always faithful to what is actually said. Zoom will have an interesting mountain to climb, in the search to make a difference against the competition.
According to ZDNet, Kites ensures that its technology is capable of providing spontaneous translation of spoken language, with minimum latency and maximum precision. When translating a conversation, the company claims that its system’s error rate is 5%. This would imply a better registration compared to human translation, whose error rate would be 5.5%.
Can Zoom really take advantage of this future feature? If you succeed, it has the potential to definitely tip the scales in your favor in the world of remote study or work.