Google today unveiled updates to its Google Translate service in addition to making Google Assistant’s capacity to interact with consumers more naturally. The firm announced the inclusion of 24 new languages, including Quechua, Guarani, and Aymara, its first native languages in the Americas. More than 300 million individuals speak the 24 new languages collectively throughout the world, according to Google.
According to Isaac Caswell, a Google Translate Research Scientist, “this goes from minor languages, like Mizo spoken by people in the northeast of India — by roughly 800,000 people — up to extremely massive global languages, like Lingala spoken by around 45 million people across Central Africa.” He continued by saying that in addition to the native languages of the Americas, Krio from Sierra Leone would be the first English dialect supported by Google Translate.
The business said that it looked for languages with sizable but neglected populations—often found on the African continent and Indian subcontinent—before choosing this most recent group of languages to support. Additionally, it aimed to solve the issue of indigenous languages, which technology frequently ignores. Technology advancements over the past few years have made it easier for Google to add new languages, according to Caswell.
According to him, adding languages like these, which are classified as low resources because there aren’t many text resources available for them, was simply not technologically feasible until a few years ago. However, a recent innovation known as Zero-Shot Machine Translation has made it simpler. “At a high level, you can see it operating as one massive neural AI model that has been translated and trained on 100 different languages.
It can be compared to a polyglot who is multilingual. However, it also receives access to untranslated literature in 1,000 other languages. You might imagine that if you’re a large polyglot and you simply start reading novels in another language, you might be able to piece together what it might mean based on your basic understanding of languages, he added. The addition takes the service’s overall supported language count to 133.
But according to Google, there are still over 7,000 languages throughout the world that Translate does not handle, so there is still a long way to go. The eight languages will be available on Google Translate starting today, although not all users will have access to them at now, according to Google.