Meta’s AI research may boost translations on Facebook



Facebook’s parent company, Meta, announced a new AI model today that can translate hundreds of languages, and its research is expected to help improve language translations on its social media apps, specifically Facebook and Instagram.

On Wednesday, Meta unveiled its new AI model, NLLB-200. NLLB stands for No Language Left Behind, which is a Meta project that endeavors to “develop high-quality machine translation capabilities for most of the world’s languages.” The AI model that came from that project, NLLB-200, can translate 200 languages.

In a separate blog post that further details NLLB-200’s capabilities, Meta mentioned that this latest AI research (specifically its “modeling techniques and learnings from the project”) are already being used to “improve and extend translations on Facebook, Instagram, and Wikipedia.”

The blog post also notes that “research advancements” from the NLLB project are expected to “support more than 25 billion translations served every day on Facebook News Feed, Instagram” and Meta’s other platforms. But how will all this play out in terms of how users experience some of their favorite social media platforms? Meta did offer up a few possibilities:

“Imagine visiting a favorite Facebook group, coming across a post in Igbo or Luganda, and being able to understand it in your own language with just a click of a button. Highly accurate translations in more languages could also help to spot harmful content and misinformation, protect election integrity, and curb instances of online sexual exploitation and human trafficking.”

To get a sense of some of the languages supported by NLLB-200, you can view a demo online that features children’s books written in languages like Indonesian and Burmese and then choose a language translation option to translate the stories to your native language.

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