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Google gets more multilingual, but will it get the nuance?


Nepalnews
AP
2022 May 12, 10:31, Lima
A student colors in a fox during during Quechua Indigenous language class focusing on animal names at a public primary school in Licapa, Peru, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. About 10 million people speak Quechua, but trying to automatically translate emails and text messages into the most widely spoken Indigenous language family in the Americas was nearly impossible before Google introduced it into its digital translation service Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The internet giant says new artificial intelligence technology is enabling it to vastly expand Google Translate’s repertoire of the world’s languages, adding 24 more this week including Quechua and other Indigenous South American languages such as Guarani and Aymara. (AP Photo)

About 10 million people speak Quechua, but trying to automatically translate emails and text messages into the most widely spoken Indigenous language family in the Americas was long all but impossible.

That changed on Wednesday, when Google added Quechua and a variety of other languages to its digital translation service.

The internet giant says new artificial intelligence technology is enabling it to vastly expand Google Translate’s repertoire of the world’s languages. It added 24 of them this week, including Quechua and other Indigenous South American languages such as Guarani and Aymara. It is also adding a number of widely spoken African and South Asian languages that have been missing from popular tech products.

“We looked at languages with very large, underserved populations,” Google research scientist Isaac Caswell told reporters.

The news from the California company’s annual I/O technology showcase may be celebrated in many corners of the world. But it will also likely draw criticism from those frustrated by previous tech products that failed to understand the nuances of their language or culture.


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