Meta, the giant tech company, formerly known as Facebook, has built a new AI model that translates 55 African languages, making technology accessible to more Africans.
On Wednesday, Meta announced that it has built and open-sourced ‘No Language Left Behind’ (NLLB)-200, a single AI model, which can translate across 200 different languages, including 55 African languages. The new model can improve the quality of translations by an average of 44 per cent. The 200-language model has over 50 billion parameters.
Reportedly, Meta has used the modelling techniques to extend translations on Facebook, Instagram, and Wikipedia. The company has worked with professional translators for each of these languages to develop a reliable translation for many low-resource languages.
Why did Meta build the new AI model?
The giant tech company built the new AI model to create more inclusive machine translation systems. Meta wanted to focus on those people around the world who are currently excluded from the web because they do not speak one of the common languages.
With the new AI model, Meta wanted to expand web access to more regions. Reportedly, for some African and Indian-based languages, NLLB-200’s translations were more than 70 per cent accurate.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook profile, “It’s impressive how much AI is improving all of our services. We just open-sourced an AI model we built that can translate across 200 different languages.”
People in the African continent speak several languages. While speaking about the launch of the AI model, Balkissa Ide Siddo, Public Policy Director for Africa, said, “Africa is a continent with very high linguistic diversity, and language barriers exist day to day. We are pleased to announce that 55 African languages will be included in this machine translation research.”