Zoom buys Kites, a German real-time machine translation company

What you need to know

  • Zoom has bought Kites, a German company focusing on machine translation.
  • Zoom says the move is part of a mission to "make collaboration frictionless."

Zoom's going to build a universal translator into your video calling app.

Video conferencing outfit Zoom has made a new purchase, picking up German company Zites. The move was announced on the Zoom blog, with Zites bringing its real-time Machine Translation (MT) technology to Zoom's growing presence in a market that has boomed over the last 18 months.

Kites was founded in 2015 by members of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology faculty. That's where the Kites (Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions) name comes from, with the company focusing on multi-language translation and breaking down barriers imposed by language. It's easy to see why something like that could get the attention of Zoom, a company that makes its money by putting people into the same virtual room, no matter where they are on the planet.

"We are continuously looking for new ways to deliver happiness to our users and improve meeting productivity, and MT solutions will be key in enhancing our platform for Zoom customers across the globe," said Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering at Zoom. "With our aligned missions to make collaboration frictionless – regardless of language, geographic location, or other barriers – we are confident Kites' impressive team will fit right in with Zoom."

Zoom does have limited real-time translation capabilities already, but this purchase will no doubt add a whole new dimension to an app that sees itself as the place where work happens as more and more do that work from home.

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