Google Translate adds support for 110 new languages

Google Translate expanded its reach to millions by adding support for 110 new languages, including major world languages, minority languages, and revitalized languages.

Google Translate
Google Translate

Google today announced added support for 110 new languages in Google Translate. This marks the largest language expansion in the platform's history, bringing the total number of supported languages to over 243.

Google Translate plays a vital role in connecting people across the globe by breaking down language barriers. The platform facilitates communication and fosters understanding of the world around us. Google is committed to continuous improvement and leverages the latest advancements in technology to expand accessibility.

In 2022, Google introduced 24 new languages using Zero-Shot Machine Translation, a technique where a machine learning model learns to translate without prior examples. Additionally, the company launched the 1,000 Languages Initiative, aiming to develop AI models that support the 1,000 most spoken languages worldwide.

The latest expansion leverages the capabilities of Google's PaLM 2 large language model. This technology allows Google Translate to support a wider range of languages, including:

  • Major World Languages: Languages like Cantonese, spoken by over 100 million people, are now accessible for translation.
  • Indigenous Languages: Translation support is extended to minority languages spoken by smaller communities, promoting cultural preservation.
  • Revitalized Languages: Languages like Manx, which faced near extinction, are included to aid revitalization efforts.

This expansion places particular emphasis on African languages, with Fon, Kikongo, Luo, and Wolof representing some of the additions.

Examples of Newly Supported Languages

  • Afar: A tonal language spoken in East Africa, Afar received significant contributions from the volunteer community.
  • Cantonese: A highly requested language, Cantonese presents challenges due to overlaps with written Mandarin.
  • Manx: A Celtic language experiencing a revival on the Isle of Man, Manx is now supported by Google Translate.
  • NKo: A standardized form of West African Manding languages, NKo utilizes a unique alphabet and has a vibrant research community.
  • Punjabi (Shahmukhi): The most spoken language in Pakistan, Punjabi written in Perso-Arabic script is now included.
  • Tamazight (Amazigh): A Berber language spoken across North Africa with various dialects, Tamazight offers both Latin and Tifinagh script support in Google Translate.
  • Tok Pisin: An English-based creole language used in Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin showcases the diversity of languages supported.

Selecting language varieties and spelling conventions presents a complex task. Languages often have regional variations, dialects, and diverse writing standards. Google prioritizes commonly used varieties, balancing representation with practicality. For instance, the Romani language encompasses numerous European dialects. Google Translate offers a version closest to Southern Vlax Romani, commonly used online, while incorporating elements from other dialects.

PaLM 2 plays a crucial role in translating languages with close relationships, such as Hindi dialects and French creoles. Google's ongoing collaboration with linguists and native speakers, coupled with technological advancements, promises to support even more language varieties and writing systems in the future.

This expansion by Google Translate signifies a commitment to fostering global communication and promoting cross-cultural understanding. By incorporating a wider range of languages, Google Translate empowers individuals to connect, share information, and bridge cultural divides.

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