Google Translate Adds 8 New African Languages


Google has announced a major expansion of Google Translate, adding eight new African languages to the platform.

Key African Languages Now Supported by Google Translate are Middle Africa: Kikongo; Eastern Africa: Luo, Swati, Venda; Western Africa: Fon, Wolof and Southern Africa: Swati, Ndebele.

This update, 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.

Communications and public affairs manager for West Africa at Google, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, in a press statement, made available to LEADERSHIP on Tuesday, highlighted the importance of this initiative, adding that, Google’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,”  Kola-Ogunlade affirmed.

Africa, with its rich linguistic diversity, is a key focus of this expansion. The addition of numerous African languages underscores Google’s commitment to supporting underrepresented languages and amplifying voices from across the continent.

Kola-Ogunlade further explained the complexities involved in language selection: “A lot of consideration goes into new language additions for Google Translate, ranging from which languages to include to the use of specific spellings. 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.”

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

Recall that Google translate has 110 new languages representing over 614 million speakers worldwide, covering around eight per cent of the world’s population. This includes major world languages with over 100 million speakers, languages spoken by small Indigenous communities, and languages undergoing revitalization efforts.

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God'swill Ofigo
Nigeria Blogger / Social Media Promoter/ Talent Manager/ Entertainer/ CEO OfyNaija Blog. WhatsApp: 0904709861

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