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Zoom Adds Live Translation Services, More Hybrid Work Features

Zoom adds new features, including live translation services, but these may come at an additional cost.

Sarah Tew / CNET

At its Zoomtopia annual conference on Monday, Zoom unveiled several new features of the video chat platform, aimed at helping its millions of users in the transition to the hybrid workforce.

Upgrades include live multilingual transcription and translation for Zoom calls. The platform will use machine learning and natural language processing to first transcribe the spoken language, and then each participant will be able to translate it into their own language, Zoom executives said during a press call. A beta will be available this month, and the feature should be generally available by the end of the year. The list of languages ​​is not yet final, there will be 30 transcription options and 12 translation options by the end of 2022, they added.

Zoom Whiteboard, essentially a digital canvas, will allow remote employees and the office to interact through a virtual whiteboard: you will be able to write on the digital whiteboard from a desktop or tablet. And Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery – which shows multiple camera feeds from in-person meetings to remote participants, so you can see everyone better – will be updated to include individual video feeds from in-person participants. A hot-desking feature will help employees reserve desks and other spaces in their offices with an interactive map.

The company is also adding a Zoom widget that you can dock on your laptop or desktop screen so you can more easily see your meeting calendar, see who’s in a meeting before you join – and let you send a message. message the host if you’re late.

Some of these new features, such as changes to the Smart Gallery, will be included in Zoom’s free upgrades next year. But others, including the translation service, will require additional fees, the amount of which has not yet been announced.

Zoom has quickly become the video chat service of choice for millions of people during the pandemic for work and socialization. These additions mark another way for businesses including Zoom, Microsoft and Google and aim to help people in their transition to remote and hybrid work.

To find out more, see our tips for using Zoom like a pro and how to change your zoom background.

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