Meta introduced on Wednesday what it is calling the “first AI-powered speech translation system for an unwritten language,” in accordance to a blog post from the tech firm.

The system efficiently translated the Taiwanese language Hokkien, a primarily oral language spoken across Taiwan. The system was developed as a part of Meta’s artificial intelligence venture referred to as Common Speech Translator, or UST.

“The interpretation system is the primary milestone for Meta AI’s Common Speech Translator venture, which focuses on creating AI programs that present real-time speech-to-speech translation throughout all languages, even primarily spoken ones,” Meta stated in a press release. 

Most previous AI-powered efforts for translating languages have centered on written language, Meta says, however certainly one of its objectives is to translate more languages that lack a proper writing system. In keeping with Meta, there are greater than 7,000 residing languages, however “over 40% are primarily oral and would not have a typical or broadly recognized writing system like Hokkien.”

In a video announcement posted to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg stated Meta could be open-sourcing the software so folks can use the brand new AI system to translate extra languages.

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