22nd February 2024 1:41 pm
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Telkom’s Izwe.ai translation platform understands local accents

This week is the AI Expo Africa 2021 and one of the exhibitors, Telkom, has collaborated on a rather interesting project in the form of izwe.ai.

This is a new AI platform that translates speech-to-text from English and local languages, with the added ability to interpret South African accents.

“Izwe.ai offers transcription and translation across a range of languages, as well as a number of text classification and entity extraction services. Applications include academic and legal transcription; contact centre transcription and analysis; and media production services, such as providing subtitles and captions to existing audio,” explains a press release regarding the platform.

“Izwe.ai is a collaboration between Telkom and data labelling organisation Enlabeler, who joined forces in the past year to create a new platform around language and speech services. Both companiesTelkom’s Izwe.ai translation platform understands local accentssaw a growing demand in this space, realising many of the international players are not set-up to service the African market,” it adds.

While there are a myriad potential applications for a platform such as this, the most immediate use will be in the education space as Telkom aims for it to deliver local-language transcription, giving all learners access to learning material.

“The technology also provides deep text analysis of transcribed content, which can enhance understanding. The accuracy of the service will constantly improve, thanks to its machine-learning foundation, and Enlabeler’s ‘Humans in the Loop’ transcription and translation capabilities,” adds the aforementioned press release.

In terms of languages supported currently, Izwe.ai is capable of translating English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sepedi, Swahili and Portuguese, but there is no word yet on when more languages will be added to the mix.

Given that it covers many of the languages used in South Africa schools, it should prove helpful right now regardless.

For now, the platform offers five free hours of translation provided you complete a survey, but hopefully learners and educators can get more hours and easier access moving forward.

To check out the platform for yourself, head here.

[Image – CC0 Pixabay]

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