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March 12, 2022

New Microsoft Teams app eliminates obvious advantage for Zoom

New Microsoft Teams app Live translation for Microsoft Teams meetings is now a reality.

A new add-on has introduced real-time translation functionality for video conferencing on Microsoft Teams , closing the gap with rival supplier Zoom .

The service is provided by a company called Interprefy, which was invited to integrate its cloud-based translation offering into Microsoft Teams.

The integration gives Microsoft customers access to Interprefy’s network of professional interpreters, who dial in to meetings on demand. Once a session has started, a drop-down menu allows users to switch between the original audio feed and the interpreter’s translation.

Live translation for video meetings

In June 2021, Zoom announced the acquisition of live translation start-up Kites GmbH, which was brought in to help develop machine translation (MT) solutions that allow users to interact in real time with colleagues from around the world.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to bring happiness to our users and improve meeting productivity, and MT solutions will be the key to improving our platform for Zoom customers around the world,” said Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering at Zoom, at the time.

While this vision has not yet come to fruition, Zoom has also long provided the ability for human interpreters to dial into meetings through a feature called Simultaneous Interpreting.

Until now, Microsoft has been able to offer neither machine-based nor human translation, but the integration of Interprefy into the Teams platform will fill this gap in lieu of a first-party offering.

“We are pleased to have worked closely with Microsoft to bring Interprefy’s multilingual conferencing expertise to Teams users around the world,” said Oddmund Braaten, CEO of Interprefy. “This is a huge step towards inclusiveness and accessibility of global gatherings to promote cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.”

Separately, but in a similar vein, Microsoft announced earlier this week that it would open up its live captioning feature to a wider group of users in an effort to improve accessibility standards.

Introduced shortly after the shift to remote working due to the pandemic, the Microsoft Teams live captions feature is designed to ensure that all video meeting participants can effectively follow the thread of conversations.

Until now, the live captioning feature has been hidden behind a registration wall. In other words, if someone joins a meeting as a guest through a link provided by the host, they would have to do without the accessibility feature. But this will no longer be the case, courtesy of an update expected to land at the end of April.

Source: tech radar

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