Multiple incoming and outgoing languages for interpreters


I am producing training videos for Zoom language interpretation and organizing webinars. I am also a simultaneous interpreter myself.

There are four common inquiries:

  1. Interpreters speak and translate to/from multiple languages, i.e. from English and German to French or Ducth. They want to have the ability to listen to multiple audio channels and translate into multiple audio channels.
  2. Interpreters typically work in pairs and they need to listen / give feedback / help their partner. In current Zoom version, once assigned as an interpreter, interpreters cannot hear their partner. This also prevents smooth transition during handover (one interpreter mutes and the other takes over in every 20 - 30 minutes)
  3. Interpreters may need to listen other interpreters, see item 1 - they may need to take from German instead of English (floor) during the same meeting. This technique is called “relay”.
  4. Interpreters need to adjust incoming and outgoing audio seperately. Many interpreters listen to the floor and also their partner at the same time to detect any mistranslation or error so that they can help each other.

I know these are feature requests but it seems like your forum is more active and responsive.

Thank you very much for your time.
If you like to have a more detailed user feedback from a 20+ year interpreter + trainer, I will volunteer to help you redesign your language interpretation module.


Zoom has the best reliable, user friendly platform, But lacks important features for interpretation.

We use a workaround whilst Zoom rectifies this issue, the interpreters join with a second device that allows them to pick any other language to relay.

Also using whatsapp to communicate with their Virtual Booth partner to do handover etc.

It’s not perfect, but it works for now.

Zoom said they are working on it, but the security issues have become priority, so these are on the wait list for now…

Zoom always say write to zoom feedback, I have tried sending many times, but it seems they don’t respond to them, even ones sent in March…so hence I always put the requests here as well as sometimes at least you get a response from Zoom…


Current Problems in Zoom Interpretation

  • When you add an interpreter and another one is interpreting the functionality sometimes cuts off for everyone. And panelists have to re-click on the language, etc.

  • no easy handoff, requires interpreters to use a second account to listen to other interpreter, and chat with person.

    • two interpreters can possbily speak at the same time, on the same channel.
    • or both interpreters stop interpreting because each of them thinks the other is interpreting.
  • no easy relay - interpreters only hear the floor but can´t chose other language to listen to.

    • In order to do relay, interpreters need to log on to a second session as a participant and listen to the interpretation so they can do relay.
  • Interpretation feature must be configured and the meeting must be scheduled with interpretation before it starts.

    • It is not possible to add interpretation during a meeting.
  • Panelists might come in and not chose a language, so they don’t hear the interpreter.

    • There is no way for the interpreter to tell the panalist to chose a language or communicate with him/her unless they activate a language channel.
  • Zoom doen’t force people to choose a language and panelists are automatically set to floor.

    • When this happens, the people listening to an interpretation hear both the panelist and the interpreter at the same sound level, instead of the 20 - 80 level which is the default.
  • The mute original audio feature doesn’t work in cell phones sometimes

  • When people login from the browser instead of the Zoom app, interpretation does not work.

    • This is even more important when a panelist logs in because they can’t hear the interpretation, and even worse, people listening to the interpretation hear both the interpreter and the panelist at same volume instead of 20 80
  • when you make someone an interpreter when creating the webinar, they are not automatically made interpreters when they enter the zoom session. They do come in as panelists, but not interpreters. The host has to make them interpreters.


Like Collin mentioned, I use a second Zoom session for Handoff and for Relay. For relay I chose the language I want to hear on my cell phone and interpret onto my PC.

For handoff, like Collin, again I use a combination of Whatsapp to let the other interpreter that it is time to come in, I use the second session to make sure both of us are not interpreting at the same time or are both silent during the handoff moment, I also tell the interpreter to look at my mic on the panelists tab and I try to mute it as soon as the other person starts interpreting.

Hopefully Zoom will get some of these things fixed soon. I still think Zoom interpretation is great and recommend it to all my clients.


Thank you for this wonderful summary. I hope Zoom improves its interpretation functions soon enough.

The question represents exactly what we need as Interpreters (I may only add 5. Arabic 500 million speakers as an optional language).

The marked answer, however, doesn’t give a solution to the problem. Signing in with a second account was my first work around, but that failed miserably because I got echo and couldn’t hear the other interpreter.

This used to work fine before the recent update. And it’s easy to fix, let Interpreters be able to choose what audio channel to listen to like any other participant. It’s that easy!

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I am also having the same interpretation issue with German language and now get the solution.