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Zoom to acquire real-time translation startup Kites

The video meeting service wants to explore multi-language translation features.

Angela Lang/CNET

Zoom on Tuesday said it has signed a deal to acquire Kites, an AI startup focused on developing real-time translation tools. With the acquisition, Zoom hopes to "improve meeting productivity and efficiency" by adding "multi-language translation capabilities" to the video chat service, the company said. 

"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," said Velchamy Sankarlingam, president of product and engineering at Zoom, in a release. 

Kites was founded in 2015 by Alex Waibel and Sebastian Stüker, who were both previously faculty members at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Stüker and the rest of the Kites team will remain in Germany, Zoom said. The company is also exploring the possibility of opening a research and development center in the country in the future. 

Zoom's use skyrocketed during the pandemic as it became the video chat app of choice for millions of people for both work and socializing. The company has added several new features this year -- such as Immersive View and a vanishing pen tool -- as it competes with rival services like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.