Latest Google Translate expansion includes two local languages

  • Google Translate has announced a massive expansion to the number of languages the platform supports.
  • As part of the 110 languages newly added, two are South African.
  • The total number of local languages supported by Google Translate now sits at nine.

In 2022 Google Translate added 24 languages to its platform thanks to machine learning model as part of a larger initiative to support more than 1 000 languages. That goal took a further step forward, as a massive 110 languages have now been added to Google Translate.

Those in South Africa will be pleased to hear that two local languages have been added to the mix – TshiVenda and siSwati. The addition of these two now brings the total number of South African languages supported by Google Translate to nine.

For those keeping count, South Africa has 12 official languages, with sign language (SASL) being added in July last year.

“This expansion also represents the largest addition of African languages, with about a quarter of the newly supported languages coming from the continent,” highlighted Google SA’s communications manager, Siya Madikane.

The latest expansion uses the Google’s PaLM 2 large language model, with the company noting that it played a crucial role in assisting the team translate more efficiently and learn languages that are closely related to each other.

The company added that approximately 1.2 million South Africans speak TshiVenda, while siSwati, an Nguni language, is spoken by around 1.5 million people living in Eswatini and South Africa.

Looking at the wider African content, the 110 new languages include Fon (primarily spoken in Benin, Kikongo (Republic of Congo, Gabon and Angola), Luo (Kenya and Tanzania), Ga (South Eastern Ghana) and Wolof (Senegal), and represent a total of more than 614 million speakers.

This means the newly added African languages bring support on Google Translate to an estimated 8 percent of the global population.

“Language is an essential part of how people communicate, understand, and interact with the world around them so we are very excited about this latest expansion. Many languages do not have a single, standard form, so learning the specific dialect that is spoken the most in an area is more feasible. Our approach has been to prioritise the most commonly used varieties of each language,” Madikane pointed out.

To check out the newly added languages for Google Translate via your browser here. The app is also available to download on Android and iOS.


About Author


Related News