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Google Maps now has transliteration for 10 Indian languages

Google’s team has built applied machine learning to build a model that transliterated Latin scripts for POIs into 10 prominent Indian languages - Hindi, Bangla, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, and Odia.

January 27, 2021 / 08:39 PM IST
Google said nearly 75 percent of India’s population interacts with web services using languages other than English. Over the next five years, that percentage is expected to rise to 90.

Google said nearly 75 percent of India’s population interacts with web services using languages other than English. Over the next five years, that percentage is expected to rise to 90.

Google has updated its Maps platform in India with transliteration support for 10 prominent languages. What is transliteration? It’s a type of conversion that doesn’t necessarily translate one language into another, but instead changes the letters of one language with a similar sounding letter from another. The aim here is to provide an alternative means of understanding text by using a different script.

In a post on Google India’s blog, Google said nearly 75 percent of India’s population interacts with web services using languages other than English. Over the next five years, that percentage is expected to rise to 90.

Technology needs to adapt and must evolve to let people use the services they need in their preferred language. The main sore point with Maps was that most Indian places of interest (POI) were still displayed using English, combined with acronyms in Latin and Indian words.

To combat this, Google’s team built applied machine learning to build a model that transliterated Latin scripts for POIs into 10 prominent Indian languages - Hindi, Bangla, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, and Odia.

Google’s main goal was to, “transliterate from a reference Latin script name into the scripts and orthographies native to the above-mentioned languages”.

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Google noted that as with any machine learning-based system, “the resulting automatic transliterations may contain a few errors or infelicities, but the large increase in coverage in these widely spoken languages marks a substantial expansion of the accessibility of information within Google Maps in India.”

The company has also promised to expand its transliteration system in the future with support for more languages and scripts which are used in the region.



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first published: Jan 27, 2021 08:39 pm
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