How to use Zoom simultaneous interpretation for multilingual events or meetings

Read a French interpreter’s tips for organisers, speakers and participants of remote multilingual events

How to use Zoom interpretation

Video remote interpreting has become an easy and practical tool for those wanting to host a multilingual event or meeting without travelling half-way across the world. Zoom, in particular, has come up with an interface designed to make remote simultaneous interpretation as smooth and easy as possible. But a little preparation is still required

What do you need to work with a translator on Zoom?

2 interpreters for each language pair

Zoom provides the interface, not the live interpreters. It is good practice to recruit two qualified interpreters per language for any meeting or event over 1 hour. Interpreting is a cognitively intense activity and working in a pair allows your interpreters to take regular breaks and to help each other out with terminology and technology issues. Ideally, they would have conference interpreting experience and, even better, have worked with Zoom simultaneous interpretation before.

A paying Zoom account

Zoom language interpretation is one of the functionalities included in the Zoom plan. The organiser will therefore need a paying account to enable it. The interpreters and the participants don’t.

How to set up Zoom interpretation?

From the “Schedule a Meeting” window, be sure to tick the “enable language interpretation” box and to add the email addresses of your interpreters (they will receive a slightly different invitation to your meeting or event).
At the beginning of the meeting, the host will assign the interpreter to their language. A globe will appear at the bottom of the participants’ screen to allow them to choose a language, and the interpreters will have access to the simultaneous interpretation interface on their screen.
Providing you have enabled language interpretation when you scheduled it (yes, you will need to cancel it and issue a new invite if you haven’t), you can also assign the interpreting to interpreters logged in as participants during the meeting: go to Settings > in Meeting (Advanced) and add the required languages.

Tips for the organisers

Tips for the speakers

Talking through an interpreter can be almost as fluid as talking in the same language, providing the speaker remembers a few rules:

Read all my tips for effective presenting through an interpreter.

Tips for the participants