Cisco continues to overhaul Webex, now with real-time language transcription

Having announced more than 50 planned innovations at its WebexOne event in December, Cisco’s Webex is rolling out another of those capabilities today: real-time language translation. The feature will be available in Webex as a preview starting this month, with general availability in May.

Users of the platform will soon be able to have their in-meeting speech translated in real time from an expanded library of over 100 languages, including Maori, Zulu and Armenian. The plethora of new languages underlines Cisco’s aim to “power an inclusive future for all.” The feature was initially unveiled with only nine perspective languages in the works.

Jeetu Patel, senior vice president and general manager of security and applications, said Cisco has made “north of a billion dollars” worth of investments in AI, including the acquisition of Voicea in 2019, a company specializing in meeting transcription, voice search, and meeting action items. Without providing specifics, Patel claimed that accuracy rates with real-time transcription are “starting to get exciting.”

A recent report from Metrigy on intelligent virtual assistants found that nearly 24% of participants have meetings that include non-English native speakers, and of these, more than half have been using third-party services to translate meetings, coasting an average of $172 per meeting.

“The inclusive features of Webex help create a level playing field for users, regardless of factors like language or geography,” Patel said in a statement. “Enabling global real-time translations is another step toward powering an Inclusive Future, and an important component of driving better communication and collaboration across teams.”


Today’s launch continues to build on the goal Webex set last year when it unveiled a variety of changes and updates to Webex: “Deliver a Webex experience that is 10x better than in-person [interactions].”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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