You Wouldn’t Believe this Zoom Function Exists!

Posted by Kristin Arnold on October 6, 2020

A client recently asked me if I could facilitate a meeting with multiple languages being spoken.  While I have had experience using simultaneous translators for in-person meetings, I haven’t had any experience facilitating a virtual meeting with multiple languages being spoken.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Zoom has this functionality built-in!  The participant can select a language to listen in, while the speaker’s voice is automatically lowered so you can hear the speaker’s energy and intonation, but clearly hear the translator over another audio channel.

How cool is that?  Mind blown.  The global world of opportunities has just opened up!

You have to provide the translator, (Ally Eden was absolutely amazing to work with!) and it’s super easy to set up (only available for Business, Education, or Enterprise Accounts, or Webinar add-on plan):

  1. Go into “My Settings”  and scroll down quite a bit to “In meeting (advanced)” options. Enable “Language Interpretation” – nine languages are readily available or you can add a language from a drop-down menu.
  2. When scheduling a meeting, check the box “Enable Language Interpretation” and add the email of the person who will be doing the translating and the language they will be speaking in. (Note: the email must be the same email the interpreter uses to log on to Zoom).  You can add several interpreters/languages.
  3. When you start a meeting, click “Interpretation” in the meeting controls, confirm your translators and if you want, assign participants to a specific language channel.  If not designated, the participants will see a new option in their toolbar (looks like a globe) and they can switch between channels.

I had NO IDEA this was even available and how easy it was to set up and use.  Now I feel like the United Nations!

For more information about how to lead your team in the virtual environment, use these resources.

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

Ally Eden has been a freelance interpreter since 2016 and specializes in community conversations and events around equity, health, education, public affairs and the environment. In 2018, she joined The Community Language Cooperative (CLC) of Denver and is now a train-the-trainer for their community interpreter curriculum. Along with the CLC, Ally practices an approach known as language justice interpretation, which combines principles of social justice with the best practices of simultaneous interpretation. You can learn more about the CLC on their website (currently under construction) and about Ally Eden on LinkedIn at

Recent Articles:

How to Facilitate a Virtual Meeting: Roles, Tips, & Responsibilities

What to Look For When Hiring a Meeting Facilitator

Stretch your Leadership Team’s Ability to Think Strategically

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Skip to content