Google’s translation service has been a pretty effective guide for many people in learning how to translate sentences between different languages and expand the world linguistically to a point where we can still understand each other a little better. It’s not perfect and some of its translation mistakes can be quite comical, but it remains a powerful and effective translation tool that is only getting better.
And today, for the first time in over 4 years, the company is adding new languages to its translation product with the addition of Kinyarwanda, Odia, Tatar, Turkmen, and Uyghur. Yes, I’ve never heard of these languages either, but they cover a collective speaking population of close to 75 million people, so I guess it’s a welcome addition that these languages are taken seriously.
The new languages bring the total number of languages offered by Google to 108. Part of the reason what it has taken so long to add these languages has had to do with finding an ample amount of online text to train its machine learning models while also sourcing enough people to assist in refining the translation processes. Something which is significantly more difficult when languages are not widely spoken. Still, it’s a process that the company believes was worthwhile in bring more languages to the world as they revealed in a new statement (via The Verge)
Google Translate learns from existing translations found on the web, and when languages don’t have an abundance of web content, it’s been difficult for our system to support them effectively. However, due to recent advances in our machine learning technology, and active involvement from our Google Translate Community members, we’ve been able to add support for these languages.
The company will start rolling out the updates to 1 per cent of Google Translate users with a steady ramping up to the full Translate user base across Android and iOS in the coming weeks. Translate will support both text translation and website translation for the five new languages and virtual keyboard input for three of them — Kinyarwanda, Tatar, and Uyghur. Inevitably, the first words that people will probably learn are how to swear.
Last Updated: March 2, 2020