Google Translate supports 10 additional African languages.

If, until now, you’ve ever been perplexed by something written in Krio or Ewe or Tigrinya, then, unlike for more than 100 other languages, Google Translate was not going to help you out.

But that’s now changed as Google has announced the inclusion of 24 languages – including 10 spoken in Africa – into this capability.

The new African languages are:

  • Bambara – spoken in Mali
  • Ewe – spoken in Ghana and Togo
  • Krio – spoken in Sierra Leone
  • Lingala – spoken in large parts of central Africa including the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Luganda – spoken in Uganda and Rwanda
  • Oromo – spoken in Ethiopia
  • Sepedi – spoken in South Africa
  • Tigrinya – spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia
  • Tsonga – spoken in South Africa
  • Twi – spoken in Ghana

Several additional African languages were previously accessible, including Amharic, Hausa, and Somali.

In the past, the software used to translate as well as learn how to enhance the interpretation relied on being fed content that had already been translated.

There is a vast and rising amount of text in the more frequently spoken and used languages—but this is not the case for many others.

Google has indicated that these new features rely on original software, which does not require reference to earlier examples.

Google Translate’s research scientist, Isaac Caswell, told the BBC that this study was part of “expanding coverage to many groups that were very much disregarded not only by Google but other technologies in general”.

But will the translations be accurate? Many polyglots have up to now identified issues with the languages presently offered.

“For many supported languages, even the main languages in Africa that we have supported-say like Yoruba and Igbo, the translation is not outstanding. It will absolutely get the concept over, but frequently it will lose much of the intricacy of the language,” Mr. Caswell conceded.

He argued that with the new languages, it would be no different. But the people who helped in the research agreed that it was an excellent place to start.

“Some of the Krio [speakers] cautioned, ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’

In the end, we have to make the call. And my opinion from other folks I have talked to was that it was a very great thing for them. “

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