Webex simultaneous interpretation by Cisco


In this post we are going to introduce some of the features introduced by Cisco Webex simultaneous interpretation release. We will deep dive on some of the most promising features of the new service in comparison with its competitor Zoom.

World is getting more global everyday and it is now extremely essential to assist people communicate efficiently regardless of where they are located around the world. Things are getting even more important to make this communication run smoothly when your audience speaks another language. At WISE, we are tirelessly working to play our part in removing language as a barrier to communication and international collaboration. We have been offering remote interpreting services for a long period now even before the global pandemic hit all of us.

However it is also true that the use of virtual communications tools have boosted significantly after coronavirus pandemic. Platforms such as Zoom, Cisco, Teams and Jitsi have become even more popular words people started to use.

From the early times of pandemic, we heavily relied on ZOOM platform as it was the only virtual meeting service that make simultaneous interpreting by real interpreters possible. Despite the fact that there are a number of other platforms which are purely dedicated to simultaneous interpreting, Zoom has proven itself to be a robust and reliable communication tool.

Simultaneous interpreting activity on Cisco

Today, we are very happy to see that Cisco WebEx has also come to offer simultaneous interpreting feature in its ever popular platform Cisco WebEx. More importantly Cisco introduces some very significant features that the interpreters have been looking after. Some of the most important interpreter friendly features include:

  • Floating language switch panel (this was sometimes creating problems on Zoom)
  • Handover option (this was usually taking place on WhatsApp while using Zoom)
  • Ability to listen to booth-mate (maybe crucial when the other interpreter gets disconnected)
  • Enabling unlimited number of language channels

How to enable simultaneous interpretation on Webex

On your Webex screen find the “Scheduling options” and simply enable “Enable simultaneous interpretation” checkbox when you want to schedule this feature. Once this feature is enabled, then it is possible to create an unlimited number of interpretation channels and assign as many interpreter as need to a particular language channel. When a meeting is scheduled, all interpreters will receive an invitation to the meeting with their role as an “interpreter” clearly mentioned. Just like in Zoom, it is also possible that the meeting host can change the role of any participant and assign him/her as an interpreter while the meeting is live.

WebEx Simultaneous Interpretation Screenshot

Upon joining the meetings, the attendees will join to the default “floor” audio channel, where they can hear all participants. When they want to change their channel to the language option of their preference, attendees should do this by using a newly added button on Webex meeting interface. Once they click on this button, they can make their selection of language. It is also possible to adjust the audio balance between the spoken language and interpretation language on the basis of their preference from 0 – 100.

When interpreters join the meeting, they will be automatically assigned to their audio channel, and they just have to unmute themselves to start interpreting. They can change the source and target languages if needed, for example during a Q&A session. Interpretation is a cognitively exhausting exercise, so typically interpreters take breaks after about 30 minutes. If the meeting host has assigned multiple interpreters to the channel, the interpreters can pass the turn onto the next interpreter in line with the click of a button.​​ This is also something additional that WebEx platform introduces as something superior to Zoom meetings.

With the addition of Simultaneous Interpretation to Meetings, Webex has taken yet another step towards providing a more inclusive real-time collaboration and communication experience for all attendees, no matter what language they speak. Meeting hosts and attendees can now choose between real-time automated translations, transcripts in non-English languages and simultaneous interpretation, depending on the needs of their meeting. We’re excited to bring this experience to the use of our customers and to see how it will help them overcome language and geographical barriers.