Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Google Translate Adds 110 New Languages with AI

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Google Translate is far from perfect, but it is still helpful for gaining information or engaging in conversation. Now, Google is expanding this option by using AI to add 110 new languages. These include Cantonese, Punjabi (Shahmukhi), and NKo.

About a quarter of the new languages come from Africa. Google claims that all the new languages together represent 614 million speakers, which is about eight percent of the global population.

Google credits its LLM, PaLM 2, as a key piece of the puzzle. This AI helps Translate learn languages more efficiently, especially those closely related to each other. For example, it helps with languages close to Hindi like Awadhi and Marwadi and French creoles like Seychellois Creole and Mauritian Creole.

Isaac Caswell, Senior Software Engineer at Google Translate, says that as technology advances and partnerships with expert linguists and native speakers continue, more language varieties and spelling conventions will be supported over time.

Google Translate’s last big influx of languages was in May 2022, thanks to Zero-Shot Machine Translation. This technology allows a model to learn a new language without viewing examples. Later that year, Google announced the 1,000 Languages Initiative. This initiative aims to create AI models that can support the 1,000 most common languages spoken globally.

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