TechFinancials: A New Social Media Platform, Chomi, to Promote South African Languages. “Chomi, a new South African-based social platform to promote South African languages, has entered the social scene and creating a community that utilises all local languages to chat and share what’s happening in their world. The new social platforms, such as USSD, Chomi.mobi and Chomi App, are available in all official SA languages.”
Lifehacker: How to Translate Wikipedia’s Pronunciation Guides. “Say you’re looking up the Möbius strip on Wikipedia, and you wonder how it’s pronounced. Wikipedia only shows some elaborate pronunciation guide written in the International Phonetic Alphabet. You could start googling it in another tab, but there’s an easy way to translate that pronunciation guide into plain English.”
The Next Web: Facebook is using a more efficient way to translate languages. “Facebook today announced a new technique in in its language translation which works faster and more accurately. It also helps Facebook catch problems across all languages more quickly. The site now has multilingual word embedding, which it says is 20 to 30 times faster than the natural language processing it had been using. Up to now, Facebook says translating for a new language took almost as long as building a new application. Now it uses language vectors which group words with the same meaning together.”
University of Southern California: Scientists work to automate quick translation of obscure languages. “A team of researchers from the Information Sciences Institute at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering has received a $16.7 million grant from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop an automated information translation and summarization tool to quickly translate obscure languages.”
Ireland Independent: ‘Social media provides a means for anyone to build a virtual language community’. “Could tech be the champion of minority languages like Irish? Now you can be friends with someone who lives hundreds of miles away based on a shared interest in the language in a way that just wasn’t possible a few years ago. For Kevin Scannell, a professor of maths in the University of Saint Louis, Missouri, Twitter plays a big role in his Irish language use. It means he can be fully immersed in the language despite living in an American city with few other speakers.”
Phys .org: Borrowing a leaf from biology to preserve threatened languages. “One of the world’s 7,000 languages vanishes every other week, and half – including scores of indigenous North American languages—might not survive the 21st century, experts say. To preserve as much linguistic diversity as possible in the face of this threat, McGill University scientists are proposing to borrow a leaf from conservation biology.”
Dogtown Media: Microsoft Unleashes an AI-Powered Language Learning App
. “Microsoft’s new AI-powered iOS app is called Learn Chinese. It’s free and, as you probably can guess from the name, teaches you Chinese. Using deep neural networks (you can read more about those here), the app interprets your words by figuring out what you’re saying before evaluating the pronunciation. With increased use of the app, you’ll find yourself progressing with Chinese, and the app will keep score too.” The article doesn’t specify but considering the screenshot included the phrase Ni hao I’m assuming this is Mandarin. If you look for this on the app store please search for Microsoft learn Chinese since there are approximately ten billion apps called Learn Chinese. The reviews are not great.