Meta’s latest AI can translate 200 languages in real time

More than 7,000 languages ​​are currently spoken on this planet and Meta seems to want to understand them all. Six months ago, the company launched its ambitious No Language Left Behind (NLLB) project, which trains the AI ​​to translate seamlessly between numerous languages ​​without having to go through English first. On Wednesday, the company announced its first major success, dubbed the NLLB-200. It’s an AI model that can speak in 200 languages, including a number of lesser-known languages ​​from across Asia and Africa, such as Lao and Kamba.

According to a Wednesday blog post from the company, NLLB-200 can translate 55 African languages ​​with “high quality results.” Meta boasts that the model’s performance on the FLORES-101 benchmark has outperformed existing state-of-the-art models by an average of 44 percent and up to 70 percent in select African and Indian dialects.

Translating between any two languages ​​- especially when neither of them is English – has proven to be a significant challenge for AI language models, as many of these translation systems rely in part on written data, sourced from the Internet, to train on. Super easy to do when pronouncing this phrase, much harder when looking for quality content in Fan or Kikuyu.

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Like most of its other publicly funded AI programs, Meta has chosen to open source NLLB-200 and provide $200,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations to develop real-world applications for the technology. Applications such as Facebook News Feed or Instagram. “Imagine visiting a favorite Facebook group, coming across a post in Igbo or Luganda, and being able to understand it in your own language with just a click of a button,” the meta-post hypothesizes. You can get an idea of ​​how the new model works on Meta’s demo page.

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