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Zoom Signed an Agreement With a German Startup for Real-time Machine-learning-based Translation Capabilities

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To bring real-time machine-learning-based translation to the platform, video conferencing app Zoom has signed a definitive agreement to acquire German startup Kites — Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions.

Kite is a start-up dedicated to developing real-time Machine Translation (“MT”) solutions. Its team of 12 researchers will help Zoom’s engineering team advance the field of MT to improve meeting productivity and efficiency by providing multi-language translation capabilities for Zoom users.

“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,” Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering at Zoom, said in a statement.

“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,” Sankarlingam added.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Kites was founded in 2015 and has academic roots at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where co-founders Alex Waibel and Sebastian StAker are faculty members.

“Kites emerged with the mission of breaking down language barriers and making seamless cross-language interaction a reality of everyday life, and we have long admired Zoom for its ability to easily connect people across the world,” said Waibel and DStAker.

“We know Zoom is the best partner for Kites to help advance our mission and we are excited to see what comes next under Zoom’s incredible innovation engine,” they added.

StAker and the rest of the Kites team will remain based in Karlsruhe, Germany, where Zoom looks forward to investing in growing the team.

Zoom is exploring opening an R&D center in Germany in the future. Waibel will become a Zoom Research Fellow, a role in which he will advise on Zoom’s MT research and development.


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