Tech giant Meta has created a single artificial intelligence (AI)-based model capable of translating across 200 different languages, including many not supported by current commercial tools.
Named after Meta's No Language Left Behind initiative and dubbed NLLB-200, the model, when comparing the quality of translations to previous AI research, scored an average of 44% higher. For some African and Indian-based languages, NLLB-200’s translations were more than 70% more accurate, according to Meta. The company claims that its new AI model can translate 55 African languages with 'high-quality results'.
Creating greater inclusion
To evaluate NLLB-200, Meta built FLORES-200, a dataset that enables researchers to assess the AI model’s performance in 40,000 different language directions. FLORES-200 allows the company to measure NLLB-200’s performance in each language to confirm that the translations are high quality.
The tech giant is awarding up to US$200,000 of grants for impactful uses of NLLB-200 to researchers and nonprofit organisations with initiatives focused on sustainability, food security, gender-based violence, education or other areas in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nonprofits interested in using NLLB-200 to translate two or more African languages, as well as researchers working in linguistics, machine translation and language technology, are invited to apply.
“These research advancements will support more than 25 billion translations served every day in Feed on Facebook, Instagram and our other technologies,” explained Meta.
NLLB will also help more people read things in their preferred language, rather than always requiring an intermediary language that often gets the sentiment or content wrong. “As the metaverse begins to take shape, the ability to build technologies that work well in a wider range of languages will help to democratise access to immersive experiences in virtual worlds,” Meta said in a statement.