How to use Language Interpretation in your meeting or webinar in Zoom App

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2022

In order to enable Language Interpretation in their meetings or webinars, users will now have the option of including interpreters in their meetings or webinars. By using this feature, a host can provide up to twenty interpreters to a Zoom session or on the web portal for them to use as interpreters.

The host can activate the interpretation feature once the meeting or webinar begins and the interpreters and translators will be able to provide their own audio channels for the language they will be translating into when the meeting or webinar starts. In order to hear the translated audio in a language of their choice, attendees can choose the audio channel and hear the translated audio in that language, as well as muted the original audio in their language, rather than hearing it at a lower volume in their language of preference.

Recordings of interpretation sessions will only be recorded in the cloud if only the original audio has been captured, not the translations who will be recorded separately. If an interpretation session is recorded locally, the person recording will be able to record any audio the person is hearing, but not multiple audio channels at the same time.

Notes:

  • PMI (Personal Meeting ID) does not support language interpretation. When generating the Meeting ID, choose Generate Automatically to enable language interpretation.
  • Meetings or webinars must be scheduled prior to using this feature, so instant meetings cannot be used.
  • You must assign someone to be a language interpreter and a panelist for webinars.
  • Using language interpretation with computer audio will broadcast 100% of the audio to everyone at the same time. Audio imbalance may occur if audio is shared during language interpretation.
  • Adding language interpretation to all occurrences of a recurring meeting or webinar can be done by clicking All after clicking Edit.

This article covers:

  • How to enable or disable Language Interpretation
    • Add and select languages after enabling Language Interpretation
  • How to add language interpreters to meetings or webinars
  • How to start Language Interpretation in meetings or webinars
  • How to manage your language interpreter role
    • How to switch audio channels as an interpreter and use interpretation relay
  • How to listen to Language Interpretation

Prerequisites for using Language Interpretation

  • Pro account with Zoom Webinars add-on; Business, Education, or Enterprise account
  • Meeting ID generated automatically
  • Client for Zoom desktop
    • Windows: 5.2.1 (44052.0816) or later
    • MacOS: version 5.2.1 (44040.0816) or later
  • App Zoom for Android and iOS
    • Android version 5.2.1 (44042.0816) or higher
    • IOS: 5.2.1 (44038.0816) or later
  • Changing the interpretation channel (interpreting relay)
    • Desktop client for Zoom
      • The latest version of Windows is 5.9.6 or higher
      • The macOS version must be greater than 5.9.6
    • The Zoom app for mobile devices
      • The Android OS must be at least 5.9.6
      • The iOS version must be 5.9.6 or higher

Notes:

  • The feature can be enabled by contacting Zoom Support for more information. As soon as Zoom Support receives your email, the feature will be enabled within an hour of your request.
  • Those who do not have a Zoom Webinars add-on will not be able to access this feature in their Pro accounts. Take a look at our plan types and add-ons to find out more.
  • If you are using the Zoom mobile app to initiate or manage language interpretation, you will not be able to initiate or manage it. There is no option in Zoom for participants to view interpreted text and listen only to audio interpretation channels when they join from the Zoom mobile app.
  • Breakout rooms cannot use language interpretation, only the main session of a meeting can use language interpretation.

How to enable or disable Language Interpretation

Note: You can enable this feature by contacting Zoom Support if you do not see it.

Account

Language Interpretation can be enabled or disabled for all users in the account by following these steps:

  1. Edit account settings by logging in as an administrator on the Zoom web portal.
  2. To access Account Settings, click Account Management in the navigation menu.
  3. Navigate to the Meetings tab.
  4. To enable or disable Language Interpretation, click the toggle under In Meeting (Advanced).
  5. Verify the change by clicking Enable or Disable in the verification dialog.
  6. Click the lock icon, and once you have confirmed the setting, you can click Lock to make this setting mandatory for all the users in your account. You can also make this setting optional for all users in your account.
  7. Check the box to allow language interpretation to be enabled by default if you wish.
    Whenever a meeting is scheduled, Language Interpretation will automatically be turned on at the account level – as a default setting.
  8. The Listening Channel option must be selected (optional). To prevent echo in the listening channel, disable this setting if you want participants to be unable to speak to a channel during interpretation. Contact Zoom Support if you would like this setting.

Group

Language Interpretation can be enabled or disabled for a group of users by following the steps below:

  1. You must sign in as an administrator to edit groups in the Zoom web portal.
  2. Select User Management from the navigation menu, followed by Group Management.
  3. From the list, select the appropriate group name.
  4. Go to the Meetings tab.
  5. Language Interpretation can be enabled or disabled under In Meeting (Advanced).
  6. Verify the change by clicking Enable or Disable in the verification dialog.
    Note: It must be changed at the account level if the option is grayed out.
  7. By clicking the lock icon, and then clicking Lock to confirm, you can make this setting mandatory for all members of the group.
  8. Make sure Enable language interpretation by default is selected (optional).
    All scheduled meetings will have Language Interpretation enabled as a default setting.
  9. Check the Allow participants to speak in the listening channel box (optional). This setting should be disabled if you want to prevent participants throughout the interpretation process from speaking to a specific channel. An example of this would be preventing echoes in the listening channel when people are speaking. Contact Zoom Support if you would like to have access to this setting.

User

Language Interpretation can be enabled or disabled at your discretion:

  1. Zoom’s web portal can be accessed by signing in.
  2. Navigate to the Settings tab.
  3. Choose Meetings from the menu.
  4. To enable or disable Language Interpretation, click the toggle under In Meeting (Advanced).
  5. To verify the change, click Enable or Disable if a verification dialog appears.
    Note: A grayed out option means that the account or group level control has been disabled. Your Zoom administrator needs to be contacted.
  6. It is also possible to enable translations by default by selecting the Enable language translations by default check box.
    All scheduled meetings will have language interpretation enabled by default at the user level, and it will be applied to all future meetings as well.
  7. Check the Allow participants to speak in the listening channel box (optional) if you wish to allow them to speak. In order to prevent participants from speaking to a channel during interpretation, you will need to disable this setting. For example, if you want the listening channel not to hear an echo from the participants’ comments. Contact Zoom Support if you would like this setting to be available to you.

Add and select languages after enabling Language Interpretation

The languages that can be added or selected depend on whether Language Interpretation has been enabled in an account, user, or group.

  1. Upon enabling this option, you will be able to see 9 languages by default:
    • English
    • Chinese
    • Japanese
    • German
    • French
    • Russian
    • Portuguese
    • Spanish
    • Korean
  2. You can add more languages by clicking the plus (+) symbol.
  3. Add a language by entering its name under Add Language.
  4. Drop-down menus allow you to select the language.
  5. Then click Add.
    After adding a language, it will appear in the list of languages.
    Note: In a meeting or webinar, only five custom languages can be used simultaneously regardless of how many languages you add.

How to add language interpreters to meetings or webinars

  1. Zoom’s web portal can be accessed by signing in.
  2. Click Meetings from the navigation menu.
  3. In the Meeting Scheduler, click the button.
  4. Select Generate Meeting ID automatically next to Meeting ID. In order to interpret languages, this setting must be set.
  5. You can enable language interpretation by checking the Enable language interpretation box next to Interpretation.
    Note: This check box will automatically be selected as a default setting for all scheduled meetings if you selected Enable language interpretation by default at the account, group, or user level.
  6. Your interpreters’ information should be entered.
    It is not necessary to use all of the audio channels created for the languages you select for interpreters in the meeting.
    Note: Using the email address associated with the pre-assigned interpreters, they must sign in to their respective accounts. A meeting host can manually assign an interpreter if the participant is not signed in with the email address used when joining the meeting or webinar.
  7. Save the changes.
  8. Click Edit to modify the interpreter list.
    • By clicking + Add Interpreter, you can add more interpreters. Enter your interpreters’ information next.
    • The email invitation can be resent by clicking on the email icon next to the interpreter’s name.
    • When you click the ellipsis next to an interpreter’s name, you can copy their email invitations. Once the invitation has been copied, click the Send button.
    • Interpreters are to be removed. The interpreter’s name will be highlighted when you click the ellipses. You can then remove this interpreter by clicking Remove This Interpreter.
  9. Once you have finished, click Save.

Note: As with language interpretation for webinars, this process is similar. Follow Steps 3-6 to schedule a webinar by clicking Webinars in the navigation menu.

How to start Language Interpretation in meetings or webinars

Note: The Zoom mobile app cannot be used to initiate or manage language interpretation. Those who join Zoom using their mobile device will only be able to hear the interpretation audio channels and see the interpreted text when using the Zoom mobile app.

  • Using the Zoom desktop client, you can sign in to the program.
  • Whether you want to start a meeting or join one, you can do it here.
  • If you haven’t already done so, click the Interpretation button in the meeting controls after your meeting has started.
    The interpreters can be added or removed from this menu at any time if needed.
  • The interpretation sessions will begin as soon as you click the Start button.
    The host will receive a message as soon as the button Start is pressed informing the interpreters that a language has been assigned to them.

Note: Interpreters assigned by pre-assignment must sign in to the email account associated with their assignment. When they join the meeting, they will not be recognized as interpreters if they are not signed in with that email address; however, the host can manually assign them to be interpreters.

  • The language channel can now be selected by interpreters and attendees in the meeting controls by clicking Interpretation.
  • During a meeting, an interpreter will hear the original audio and translate it. The language channel to which interpreters have been assigned is the only channel they have access to. There will be a lower volume of the original audio and the translated audio in a language channel.
    Note: 8 seconds after an interpreter has finished speaking, the original volume will return to 100%.
  • By clicking Interpretation in the meeting controls, the host can end the interpretation session(s).
  • The host can stop the Language Interpretation sessions once the window opens.
  • While a session is in progress, the host can also manage language interpreter settings by clicking Manage Language Interpretation.

How to manage your language interpreter role

In order to broadcast to a language channel at a time, you must be a language interpreter. By doing so, unnecessary language crossover is eliminated and confusion is reduced as a result. The audio channel you have been assigned to during the meeting can be switched between the native channel and the interpretation channel at any time during the meeting.

Note: Language interpretation can only be joined from a computer’s audio output. Call me phone and dial-in features are not available for you to use.

You will receive a notification once you have been assigned as a language interpreter by the meeting host. There will be a window that displays the language for which you are responsible:

  1. Open the Zoom desktop client and sign in to your account.
  2. As an interpreter, you have been assigned by the meeting’s host to be a part of a meeting that you will be attending.
  3. Please click the OK button to accept the language for which you will be interpreting.

How to switch audio channels as an interpreter and use interpretation relay

When switching between audio channels, follow these steps:

  1. To broadcast to a specific audio channel, click the language.
  2. If you are broadcasting to an audio channel, speak the language of that channel.

You can listen to another interpreter by changing the audio channel as an interpreter, since you are listening to the main audio channel by default. Interpretation relays are used in this scenario.

When you are not able to understand the main language channel, this can be useful for interpreting. The main channel might speak English that you don’t understand, but it might speak French that you understand. The French interpretation channel can also be listened to and translated into the language of your interpretation assignment.

In order to switch from one language interpretation channel to another, follow these steps:

  1. The drop-down menu will appear next to Listening in.
  2. You can listen to audio channels by selecting them.
    The default setting is Main audio.

Note: Version 5.9.6 or higher is required for interpretation relay.

How to listen to Language Interpretation

Windows | macOS

  1. Click the Interpretation button in the meeting/webinar controls.
  2. You can listen in a language of your choice.
  3. Select Mute Original Audio if you only want to hear the interpreted language.

Notes:

  • Using your computer audio or VoIP is the only way to join the meeting audio. Call-me phone or dial-in audio features do not allow you to hear language interpretation.
  • Whenever you unmute your audio and speak in a language channel, you will be able to broadcast your voice back into the main audio channel as a participant that has joined the channel.

Android | iOS

  1. You can access your meeting controls by tapping the ellipsis.
  2. Choose Language Interpretation.
  3. You can listen to a language by tapping it.
  4. (Optional) Mute the original audio using the toggle.
  5. Then click Done.

Notes:

  • With the call me phone or dial-in audio features, you cannot listen to language interpretation.
  • The main audio channel can be accessed by participants joining a language channel if their audio is unmuted and they speak.