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

Zoom on Mac
Zoom on Mac (Image credit: Zoom)

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."

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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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.