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New relay function in Zoom

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New relay function in Zoom
May 2022
New relay function in Zoom
By Janet Welch
Posted: 2022-05-10T22:17:00Z

Relay interpreting in Zoom


The recent Zoom update of the interpretation channel system allows a smoother interaction between speakers of different languages. To use this function, first make sure everyone has the latest version of Zoom. There are now 2 interpretation buttons: “Listening in” and “Speaking to”. Only the interpreters see these buttons. Everyone else can only choose one language. This explanation will use the example of a meeting with two language channels, French and Spanish. Warning: It sounds harder than it is.                        

Instruction for participants:

If you are an English speaker, click the interpretation button and choose English.

If you speak a language other than English, you listen in the channel of your language. When you wish to participate, you speak into the main room in your own language. You do not need to change anything to do that. You are automatically heard in the main room, and your interpreter interprets what you say into the “listening in” English channel. If there is another speaker of your language speaking into the main room audio, you go there to hear them, and then go back to your language channel when they finish. 

Instructions for interpreters and hosts: When you use Zoom with interpretation, the participants listening through the various language channels can be heard in the main room when they speak, but not in their language room. The interpreters hear everything from the main room. The interpreters can only be heard in the French (or Spanish) channel. The people in the French (or Spanish) channel cannot hear each other.


If, for example, a French-speaker wants to participate, and it is just a sentence or two, he can type it into the chat box and the interpreter (or ideally, someone else) can translate it. If he wishes to speak directly into the meeting, the French-speaker speaks into the main room in French. The interpreter does not hear the French-speaker through the French channel, but through the main audio. Everyone can be heard in the main room audio except the interpreters who are in a “speaking to” channel. Only interpreters use “speaking to.”


When the French-speaker is speaking in the main room in French, everyone who speaks English but not French is already in the English channel. The Spanish speakers stay in their channel. The Spanish interpreter also goes to the “listening in” English channel where he hears the English and interprets it into Spanish, speaking into the “speaking to” Spanish channel.


The French interpreter hears the French-speaker speaking French on the main audio, and switches to “speaking to” English, and interprets the French into English. The participants hear the interpretation of the French on the English channel.


When the French-speaker has finished, the interpreter leaves the “speaking to" English channel and goes back to the “speaking to” French channel.


If there is also Spanish interpretation, the Spanish interpreter goes to the “listening in” English channel to hear the French-speaker in English. She stays in the “speaking to” Spanish channel, and the Spanish speakers hear her there. This relay causes a slight delay so you have to leave a little more time. Then she returns to the main audio to continue interpreting English to Spanish.

Here’s a video that explains it. Relay Interpreting on ZOOM - YouTube.

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