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Meta is working on an AI-based universal language translator

The company announced the project during a event focused on AI

February 24, 2022 / 02:06 PM IST
(Illustration by Suneesh K.)

(Illustration by Suneesh K.)

During an event that was focused on Machine Learning and AI, Meta, Facebook's parent company, announced plans for an AI-based universal language translator.

“The ability to communicate with anyone in any language — that’s a superpower people have dreamed of forever," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the presentation.

Meta said that 20 percent of the world's population does not speak languages covered by current translation tools, and the under-represented languages do not have the necessary written repositories to train AI systems.

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"For people who understand languages like English, Mandarin, or Spanish, it may seem like today’s apps and web tools already provide the translation technology we need," wrote Meta's research team in a blog post.


"But billions of people are being left out — unable to easily access most of the information on the internet or connect with most of the online world in their native language. Today’s machine translation (MT) systems are improving rapidly, but they still rely heavily on learning from large amounts of textual data, so they do not generally work well for low-resource languages, i.e., languages that lack training data, and for languages that don’t have a standardized writing system."

Meta said that this would be a long-term effort to build machine learning tools that will allow it to translate most of the world's languages. As part of the "No Language Left Behind" project that will allow AI to learn from and build tools for languages, which currently have fewer resources to train machine learning.

Also Read: Meta will pay $90 million to settle an old privacy lawsuit

The second effort is an "Universal Speech Translator" that will translate languages and speech from one language to another in real-time, in both written and spoken forms of communication.

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first published: Feb 24, 2022 02:06 pm
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