• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Google Translate deepens African roots with 8 new languages

Google Translate deepens African roots with 8 new languages

Google has announced an expansion of Google Translate, adding 110 new languages to the platform, eight of which are from Africa.

According to a statement, adding more African languages underscores Google’s commitment to supporting underrepresented languages and amplifying voices across the continent.

The newly added African languages are Kikongo from Central Africa, Luo, Swati, and Venda from East Africa, Fon and Wolof from West Africa and Swati and Ndebele from Southern Africa.

This addition, a part of Google’s 1,000 Languages Initiative, which uses AI models to support the 1,000 most spoken languages around the world, represents a significant step towards breaking down language barriers and fostering communication across diverse cultures.

The firm noted that the new inclusions join Nigerian languages Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri, and Tiv, which Google Translate already supported.

Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager for West Africa, noted that the firm’s mission is to enable everyone, everywhere, to understand the world and express themselves across languages.

“With the addition of these 110 new languages, including many from Africa, we’re opening up new opportunities for over half a billion people to connect and communicate,” he said.

Read also: Google reveals 9 ways artificial intelligence enhances its products

Kola-Ogunlade explained the complexities involved in language selection. He said, “Many languages do not have a single, standard form, so learning the specific dialect that is spoken the most in an area is more feasible. Our approach has been to prioritise the most commonly used varieties of each language.”

The latest expansion uses the PaLM 2 large language model, following the addition of 24 languages in 2022 using Zero-Shot Machine Translation. This technology enables Translate to learn languages that are closely related or have various distinct dialects. Google collaborated extensively with native speakers to ensure accuracy and prioritise the most used varieties of each language.

The 110 new languages represent over 614 million speakers worldwide, covering around 8 percent of the world’s population. This includes major world languages with over 100 million speakers, languages spoken by small Indigenous communities, and languages undergoing revitalisation efforts.