Meta has built an AI system capable of translating Hokkien into English

Meta said on Wednesday that it had built a artificial intelligence system who can translate Hokkien into English even though the Taiwanese language has no standard written form.

The Silicon Valley tech titan, owner of Facebook and Instagram, has touted the work of its Universal Speech Translator project as an effort to enable users around the world to socialize, regardless of the languages ​​they speak.

When Facebook has renamed itself Meta a year ago, co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg said the company was focusing on a shift to online living taking place in virtual realms, a concept called the metaverse.

“Spoken communications can help break down barriers and bring people together wherever they are — even in the metaverse,” Meta said. in a blog post.

More details on the new Meta AI system that can translate Hokkien into English

Hokkien’s nascent translation system was touted by Meta as the first artificial intelligence-powered speech-to-speech translation system developed for unwritten language. Language.”

The translation technology, which the tech company says will be shared for others to use, allows someone who speaks Hokkien to converse with someone who speaks English, but only with a full sentence to both, according to Meta.

“It’s a step towards a future where simultaneous translation between languages ​​is possible,” Meta said. “The techniques we’ve developed with Hokkien can be extended to many other unwritten languages ​​and will eventually work in real time.”

Meta, the Silicon Valley tech titan that owns Facebook and Instagram, has billed the work of its Universal Speech Translator project – which can translate Hokkien into English – as an effort to enable users around the world to socialize regardless of language. that they speak. (Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP)

Hokkien is widely spoken within the Chinese diaspora. It is used by 16 million people across Asia and is spoken by three-quarters of Taiwan’s population, according to the French National Institute for Oriental Languages ​​and Civilizations.

But the language doesn’t have a standard written form, making it difficult to train AI models to interpret what’s being said, according to Meta.

More than 40% of the world’s 7,000 existing languages ​​are primarily spoken, with no standard or widely known written form, the technology company said.

“In the future, all languages, written or unwritten, may no longer be an obstacle to mutual understanding,” Meta said.

This story was published via AFP Relaxnews

(Main image: Chris Delmas/ AFP; Feature image: Muhammad Asyfaul/ Unsplash)

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