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Google announces products for 9 Indian languages while 11 more get keyboard support

Think Change India
26th Apr 2017
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Google India announced a new set of products and features for Indian languages on Tuesday. Google Translate will use the company's new neural machine translation (NMT) technology.

NMT will be applicable for nine Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Kannada. The feature offers a huge improvement over the old phrase-based system which translates full sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence.

Google Vice-President for Southeast Asia and India, Rajan Anandan; Source- Indian Express

The largest search engine also announced the extension of NMT to chrome's built-in auto-translate functionality, which makes full-page translations easier and more accurate. The feature will be available on Google search and maps. Google’s NMT system relies on deep neural networks for translations. The model is similar to how machine learning works for other tasks like image recognition, except in this case the neural network is taught the language and translations sentence by sentence, said an Indian Express report.

Rajan Anandan, Vice-President, India & Southeast Asia, Google, said,

The most important aspect of making the web more useful and meaningful for all of India is to make India’s internet more representative of the India we live in. India today has 234 million Indian language users who’re online, compared to 175 million English web users. We expect another 300 million Indian language users to come online in the next four years. With today’s launches, we’re taking a huge step forward to bring down the barriers that stop Indian language users to get more out of the internet and also help the industry solve for the needs of a billion Indians.

The company also took this opportunity to announce the reach of Gboard, the new keyboard for Android launched in December 2016, which is offering transliteration support for Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, and Gujarati, according to a Livemint report.

The company’s emphasis on Indian language support is based on the findings of a joint report by Google and KPMG India, titled 'Indian Languages—Defining India’s Internet', which was released at an event in New Delhi.

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