Meta builds single AI model that translates 200 languages
To help people connect better today and be part of the metaverse of tomorrow, Meta’s AI researchers have created No Language Left Behind (NLLB), an effort to develop high-quality machine translation capabilities for most of the world’s languages.
“We have announced an important breakthrough in NLLB: We’ve built a single AI model called NLLB-200, which translates 200 different languages with results far more accurate than what previous technology could accomplish. Language is our lifeline to the world. But because high-quality translation tools don’t exist for hundreds of languages, billions of people today can’t access digital content or participate fully in conversations and communities online in their preferred or native languages. This is particularly an issue for hundreds of millions of people who speak the many languages of Africa and Asia,” said Meta.
When comparing the quality of translations to previous AI research, NLLB-200 scored an average of 44% higher. For some African and Indian-based languages, NLLB-200’s translations were more than 70% more accurate.
To best evaluate and improve NLLB-200, Meta built FLORES-200, a dataset that enables researchers to assess this AI model’s performance in 40,000 different language directions. FLORES-200 allows us to measure NLLB-200’s performance in each language to confirm that the translations are high quality.
And to help other researchers improve their translation tools and build on our work, we’re opening NLLB-200 models and the FLORES-200 dataset to developers, in addition to our model training code and code for re-creating the training dataset. We’re also awarding up to $200,000 of grants for impactful uses of NLLB-200 to researchers and nonprofit organizations with initiatives focused on sustainability, food security, gender-based violence, education or other areas in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nonprofits interested in using NLLB-200 to translate two or more African languages, as well as researchers working in linguistics, machine translation and language technology, are invited to apply,” said the company.
These research advancements will support more than 25 billion translations served every day in Feed on Facebook, Instagram and Meta’s other technologies.