marketing translation services
Marketing Translation: a Challenge
August 5, 2021
best practices for multilingual communication with employees
Best Practices for Communicating with Your Multilingual Workforce
August 26, 2021

Step by Step Guide for Zoom Interpretation

interpretation services remote zoom

Last updated on July 12th, 2023 at 10:41 am

zoom interpretation services company

Zoom, the remote meeting platform

Zoom meetings became the most popular way to meet in 2020, and their convenience has made them a new staple of our everyday lives. Meetings that once required hours of travel can now take place from your living room or office. Even as some companies begin to return to their corporate offices, virtual meetings show no signs of slowing down. The ease of use and accessibility features like live interpretation services make Zoom meetings a valuable asset for all businesses.

Zoom meetings make it easy to include interpretation services in any meeting, webinar, or presentation. But using virtual meeting rooms can present their fair share of challenges, which companies and organizations must account for in advance to run a meeting smoothly.

In this interpretations services blog, we go step by step through everything you need to know about adding Zoom interpretation  to your next meeting.

Video Support: Setting Up Zoom Interpretation Services

If you need a video walk-through on setting up interpretation services in your Zoom account, JR Language has developed a video with instructions. Follow along with our instructional video in YouTube


JR Language is a language solutions company that offer professional interpretation services on site and remotely.  For zoom interpretation we provide consecutive interpreters and simultaneous interpreters. Please call with your requirements and we will help you set the meeting with interpretation services that will support your multilingual meeting.

How Does Zoom Interpreting Work?

To use the Zoom interpretation feature, an individual or business must have an eligible account, including Business, Education, Enterprise, or Pro Account + Webinar add on. The interpretation feature can be activated on the account level by contacting the Zoom Support team and used as a feature in meetings or webinars.

Once the meeting has started, the host can turn on interpretation, and assign the role. The professional interpreters accept the role and add a new audio channel. The participants can choose their desired language channel and easily hear the interpreted version of the meeting.  For sign language interpretations, the interpreter will appear on the screen next to the original presenter 

It sounds simple, but there are many tech complications that can easily pop-up along the way if you’re not prepared in advance. As a professional interpretation company, JR Language is well-versed in using and providing Zoom interpretation services.  

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Zoom Interpretation

Getting Started

Go to to create an account and choose your account level. Free accounts can always participate in meetings, but only paid accounts are able to access the interpretation feature. You’ll need a:

  • Business account
  • Education account
  • Enterprise account
  • Pro account + Webinar add-on

After having the appropriate account type, you can download the app to your desktop, phone, or tablet.

Change the Settings

To activate live interpretation on your Zoom account, you need to contact their support team. It may take up to 3 days to be activated, so plan in advance to be sure you have enough time before meeting that needs interpretation services.

Once you’re signed into Zoom on desktop, click Settings on the left side bar. Scroll down to the In Meetings (Advanced) section and enable Language Interpretation. Zoom has 9 default languages, including:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • German
  • French
  • Russian
  • Portuguese
  • Korean

You can add more languages by clicking on the (+) symbol and finding it in the dropdown menu.

Before the Meeting

Planning is the key to success for remote interpretation in multilingual meetings. Reach out to a professional interpretation agency, like JR Language, once you know interpretation services are needed. For the quoting and planning, you’ll need to provide:

  • Which languages need interpretation
  • If the interpretation is simultaneous or consecutive
  • What the topic of the presentation is
  • Date for the event
  • Start time and anticipated end time.

Additionally, you should always indicate if you’re new to Zoom interpretations so we can provide additional set up and meeting guidance.

Scheduling the Meeting

To schedule a remote interpretation on a meeting:

  • From your profile page, click Meetings and Schedule a Meeting.
  • Click Generate Automatically for the Meeting ID.
  • Next to Interpretation at the bottom of the screen, select Enable Language Interpretation.
  • Enter the information for each professional interpreter. Each language you select will create a different audio channel. The interpreters will be added as meeting panelists, not participants.
  • Click Save.
  • To change the list of interpreters at any time before the meeting, simply click Edit.

These instructions are the same for scheduling a webinar, but first you would click Webinarà Schedule a Webinar.

Important Notes

  • When sending the Zoom invites you cannot use a Personal Meeting ID. Meeting IDs must be automatically generated to have the interpretation option. Additionally, live interpretation must be selected in advance of the meeting start time. These services cannot be added to a live meeting.
  • It’s also important to note that if you’re scheduling a reoccurring meeting, each occurrence must be edited to include the interpretation.

Running the Meeting with Simultaneous Interpreters

The minutes before a meeting or webinar goes live is often when issues occur. To avoid common problems, all meeting hosts and panelists should sign in on the desktop version of Zoom, not the app. Everyone must sign in with the email that the Zoom invite was sent to.

To start the meeting:

  • Click Start Meeting to launch the meeting. This does not make it live to the participants yet but allows all panelists and co-hosts to join.
  • Click the Interpretation button in the meeting controls. If needed, you can add or remove interpreters here.
  • Interpreters will be notified of their role. When they accept, they can access Interpretation in the meeting controls and select their language channel.
  • Click Start to begin the session and allow all participants in.

Attendees will get a notification that interpretation services are available with the option to choose a language channel. Interpreters are easy to identify in the attendees list because they have a flag next to their name.

During the meeting, the interpreter will hear the original meeting audio but the participants on the language channel will hear the translated audio for that language. Participants will hear the interpreter at 80% volume and the original audio at 20% volume. If the participant does not wish to hear the original audio, they may select to mute original audio from the interpretation button.

To end the interpretation, the host must click Interpretation in the meeting control and select End.

Things to Know Before Your Multilingual Meeting

There are a few nuances with using Zoom interpretation services to be aware of.

  • Interpreters cannot hear each other during a meeting.
  • The user interface to navigate to the interpretation is different on desktops, tablets, and phones.
  • Cloud recordings of Zoom meetings will only record the original meeting audio, not the translated versions.
  • Local or desktop recordings of Zoom meetings will record the audio the participant heard. So, if the participant is listening to Spanish, the Spanish channel will be recorded locally.

It is always a good practice to test the meeting setup and the interpreter’s channel before the participants join. Before the pressure of having the participants waiting, you will have time to fix any issues, test the interpreters’ channels and incorporate any change needed in the setup.

Doug Dohr
Doug Dohr
Doug is a Language Solutions Specialist here at JR Language and works with clients on a daily basis to help them meet their goals with Translations and Interpretations. Doug is recently married and bought his first house with his Wife Rachael. In their free time they enjoy Camping, Traveling, and seeing live music.