Tech giant MetaAhas created a single artificial intelligence (AI)-based model capable of translating across 200 different languages, including many not supported by current commercial tools.
According to The Verge, the company is open-sourcing the project in the hopes that others will build on its work.
The AI model is part of an ambitious R&D project by Meta to create a so-called “universal speech translator,” which the company sees as important for growth across its many platforms — from Facebook and Instagram to developing domains like VR and AR.
Machine translation not only allows Meta to better understand its users (and so improve the advertising systems that generate 97 per cent of its revenue) but could also be the foundation of a killer app for future projects like its augmented reality glasses.
Experts in machine translation told the website that Meta’s latest research was ambitious and thorough, but noted that the quality of some of the model’s translations would likely be well below that of better-supported languages like Italian or German.
Meta AI research scientist Angela Fan, who worked on the project, told The Verge that the team was inspired by the lack of attention paid to such lower-resource languages in this field.