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Fortune Teller of Language

by Vijay Garg
0 comment 4 minutes read

Recently, Google has added twenty-four new languages to its machine translation system, including eight of the country’s languages – Sanskrit, Bhojpuri, Dogri, Assamese, Mizo, Konkani, Maithili and Manipuri. Whereas it already had Indian languages like Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Thus far, Google has arranged for mutual machine translation between a total of one hundred and thirty three languages of the world, which has crossed the global linguistic barrier including Indian. It is a great achievement to do. Google Translate is like a bridge that is always in people’s pockets because of its convenience of working on mobile through the app. Yes, the question of translation quality is always relevant and it is here too, but in spite of all this it has started to translate well in many majority languages.
However, a number of encouraging conclusions can be drawn from Google’s recent links to languages, the main one being that Sanskrit, a representative language of the Indian knowledge tradition, is still a capable machine. There was no translation system and today we are proud to have Google’s research achievement on our forehead, secondly, they also have a language like Bhojpuri, which runs a parallel movement to get it included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of the country lives. Google i.e. the market has given its protection to Bhojpuri. Among these languages are also languages like Mizo and Konkani, whose speakers are comparatively small in number and come down in the order of numerical strength in the country.
So, now definitely Minority language-speakers should also expect from Google that their languages will be added to this list. There is also a big basis for such expectation that the technology Google is using in the current research process, it has used the ‘Zero Shot’ method, in which a linguistic corpus i.e. ‘digital text’ can also be used for artificial intelligence. Algorithms have been developed on the basis of this, whereas Google’s early research was focused on the use of bilingual parallel corpus, and based on extensive collection. Obviously, this linguistic date Google steals from people’s creative activities for free. However, it should also be seen in a positive way here that the more active a minority language-speaking person is in the world of the Internet through their language, the more likely it is that Google will take care of their languages and help them. Also stand with mainstream languages on technological platforms. Surely he has his own interests in the midst of all this.
Well, looking at all this, some incidents during 2010-12 are being remembered, in which a late the teacher, who was one of the pioneers of machine translation in the country, also has his own experiences. He was working for the Government of India in those days and, despite all the achievements of his research, at times seemed frustrated with the bureaucracy, in which the bureaucracy compared the machine translation system he was developing with Google, while the ability of both, No comparison was possible between resource and methodology. This was the period of machine translation in the country, when the rule-based system was at its peak and Google’s statistical method was in its early stages was in a state. That is, the work of building a bridge on a river by adding bricks one by one was being done in the country, which was also successful in the then circumstances, whereas Google’s method is like making the same bridge overnight with a JCB machine.
The research of machine translation was going on in the country that in 2012, a top official associated with these works of the Government of India told in a personal conversation that ‘No, now we will not do anything for machine translation, because Google is doing it. So, when we look at these efforts of Google today, it also makes sense. It is coming that the governments of the country have equal support in these achievements of Google, whether due to ignorance or inaction or lack of vision. After all, due to government policy vacuum, Google has made free use of our internet data and today it is making products out of it and serving it to us and in the choice less circumstances, we have no other work than to celebrate.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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