There are now 103 languages available for 99% of all internet users, courtesy of Google Translate which just added 13 new others which include Amharic, Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Shona, Sindhi, Pashto and Xhosa – empowering 120 million new people to communicate in their native languages over the internet.
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According to Sveta Kelman, Senior Program Manager, Google Translate, Google explored machine learning technology in 2006 to add English, Arabic, Chinese and Russian translations for use on the internet, now 10 years after, a total of 103 languages are usable over the internet via Google Translate.
The newly added 13 languages have the following distinguishing features –
• Amharic (Ethiopia) is the second most widely spoken Semitic language after Arabic
• Corsican (Island of Corsica, France) is closely related to Italian and was Napoleon's first language
• Frisian (Netherlands and Germany) is the native language of over half the inhabitants of the Friesland province of the Netherlands
• Kyrgyz (Kyrgyzstan) is the language of the Epic of Manas, which is 20x longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey put together
• Hawaiian (Hawaii) has lent several words to the English language, such as ukulele and wiki
• Kurdish (Kurmanji) (Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria) is written with Latin letters while the others two varieties of Kurdish are written with Arabic script
• Luxembourgish (Luxembourg) completes the list of official EU languages Translate covers
• Samoan (Samoa and American Samoa) is written using only 14 letters
• Scots Gaelic (Scottish highlands, UK) was introduced by Irish settlers in the 4th century AD
• Shona (Zimbabwe) is the most widely spoken of the hundreds of languages in the Bantu family
• Sindhi (Pakistan and India) was the native language of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the "Father of the Nation” of Pakistan
• Pashto (Afghanistan and Pakistan) is written in Perso-Arabic script with an additional 12 letters, for a total of 44
• Xhosa (South Africa) is the second most common native language in the country after Afrikaans and features three kinds of clicks, represented by the letters x, q and c
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With the International Mother Language Day coming up on February 21, almost everybody can help Google Translate by translate languages into his own native tongue or validate existing translations – so far it is a written language. These 13 latest language translation additions will be updated for internet use over the coming days.