At Google I/O 2022, the company showcased many new products for its key applications. As part of their development, Google Translate got 24 new languages. Considering it already has an extremely rich base, it’s no wonder the new ones are extremely exotic from our perspective, and few of us will find this novelty useful. On the other hand, the few people who deal with these languages will surely be delighted.
Google Translate has 24 new languages
These are not niche or nearly extinct languages, but those used by millions or even tens of millions of people around the world. Some of them have more active users than, for example, Polish. A good example here is Bhojpuri, which is spoken in northern India, Nepal and Fiji. According to the 2011 Indian census, the language is spoken by at least 51 million people in India alone.
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Of course, there are also some deviations in the other direction here. Of the newly added languages, Sanskrit is spoken by approximately 20,000 people. Interestingly, this one also operates in India. However, before we get to the full list of new products, let’s get one thing clear: how come the Google team added up to 24 languages in just one year since the last Google I/O? After all, it’s an average of 2 languages per month. Well, it is possible thanks to the use of AI, and more specifically Zero-Shot Machine Translation technology.
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This is a unique machine learning model that can learn to translate words into another language without seeing examples. In comparison, machine learning usually just gives examples where the computer learns new things. Google hasn’t shared the details of how it works, so unfortunately I won’t go any further. However, this is a technology the company has been talking about since 2016.
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Of course, AI alone is not enough. Google also used native speakers and linguists to improve translations. Nevertheless, there are a few…problems to be reckoned with. The translations can look like what we know since the beginnings of Google Translate in Poland: problems with grammar, syntax or even false suggestions.
Google translate has 24 new languages - a list
Here is the full list of new languages in Google Translate.
- Assamese, spoken by approximately 25 million people in northeastern India.
- Aymara, spoken by approximately two million people in Bolivia, Chile and Peru.
- Bambara, spoken by approximately 14 million people in Mali.
- Bhojpuri, spoken by approximately 50 million people in northern India, Nepal and Fiji.
- Dhivehi, spoken by approximately 300,000 people in the Maldives.
- Dogri, spoken by about 3 million people in northern India.
- Ewe, spoken by about seven million people in Ghana and Togo.
- Guarani, spoken by approximately seven million people in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.
- Ilocano, spoken by approximately 10 million people in the northern Philippines.
- Konkani, spoken by about two million people in central India.
- Krio, used by approximately four million people in Sierra Leone.
- Kurdish (Shoran), spoken by about eight million people, mostly in Iraq.
- Lingala, spoken by approximately 45 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Angola and South Sudan.
- Luganda, spoken by approximately 20 million people in Uganda and Rwanda.
- Maithili, spoken by approximately 34 million people in northern India.
- Meiteilon (Manipuri), spoken by about 2 million people in northeastern India.
- Mizo, spoken by approximately 830,000 people in northeastern India.
- Oromo, spoken by approximately 37 million people in Ethiopia and Kenya.
- Quechua, spoken by approximately 10 million people in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and neighboring countries.
- Sanskrit, spoken by about 20,000 people in India.
- Sepedi, spoken by approximately 14 million people in South Africa.
- Tigrinya, spoken by approximately 8 million people in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
- Tsonga, spoken by around seven million people in Eswatini, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
- Twi, spoken by approximately 11 million people in Ghana.
Unfortunately, it is not known when these languages will officially appear in Google Translate.