The Weekly Roundup: For the Love of Language
Language. It's something we're passionate about here at Video Translator, we can't get enough of it. And, judging by the news that’s come out in the past week, there’s a lot of folks out there who share our passion.
We’re delving into language from all across the globe this week; NLP research engineers working with pidgin English, YouTube India is branching out into local and regional Indian languages, Navajo is getting it’s own version of one of the most popular (read: annoying for adults) songs amongst toddlers and we see the effects on the brain from being bilingual from an early age.
1. Baby Shark creators to release Navajo version of wildly popular song
Just when the Navajo people thought they were safe, Baby Shark is coming to get and/or annoy them too! The creators of the Baby Shark (Doo Doo Doo Doo) video, which has over 4 billion views on YouTube are working with Navajo Nation Museum in the US to create a new version of the catchy song.
A vulnerable language, Navajo is now only spoken by about 120,000 people.
“The Navajo Nation, a semi-autonomous territory that stretches across swaths of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, previously arranged for Disney’s Finding Nemo to be dubbed in Navajo as well. The museum is also exploring options beyond children’s programming. “All of these projects have been strategically chosen for the demographics we’re trying to address in the Navajo Nation.” “Language preservation is talking Navajo in the home and having more formal programs and schools that teach Navajo language.” Director of the museum, Manuelito Wheeler said being included in mainstream media has boosted Navajo pride in their culture.
2. Regional languages to drive creators in 2020
Following the success of YouTube creators who speak in regional Indian languages over the past three years, the company has stated in will be focusing on even more Indian regional languages in the new year. This is to encourage growth amongst creators and viewers alike.
Director of Content Partnerships for YouTube Indian, Satya Raghavan, languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and Marathi are continuing to be used and growing amongst YouTube creators and influencers.
India is now the top audience in the world for YouTube and is continuing to be one of the fastest growing audiences on the site. With regional languages being used on YouTube, the company can expect to see an ever-growing audience, who are able to relate and understand it’s creators and their content.
3. How two Nigerian AI engineers built the world’s first pidgin-to-English translation model
AI is still in it’s very early stages in Nigeria, but two engineers are beating the odds and have created the world’s first ever pidgin-to-English translation model. Due to there being no Wikipedia Pidgin available, engineers Orevaoghene Ahia, 21 and Kelechi Ogueji, 23 had to train a Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation (UNMT) model to learn the language from scratch, “scraping 56,695 pidgin sentences and 32,925 unique words from a couple of websites."
Whilst the pair have done a lot and we mean a lot to increase awareness and the availability of pidgin English online, their hope is for their work to help Google “be more inclusive of the 75 million Nigerians who speak pidgin English. Pidgin English is the closest thing West Africa has to a unifying lingua franca." As of yet, there is still no Google translate for pidgin.
4. 12 Everyday Applications Of Artificial Intelligence Many People Aren’t Aware Of
We’ve all heard about the devious plans Artificial Intelligence has in store to take over the world and end the human race, but did you know they’re also already a part of our every day lives?
The Forbes Technology Council have listed 12 ways that AI is assisting and improving our lives, especially when it comes to interacting with businesses. Online shopping that’s personalised to your taste? That’s done with AI. Keeping security companies safe from cyberattacks? AI. Ensuring your finances are protected? Keeping internet services running smoothly? Better online customer service? AI. AI. AI.
This is a great read for anyone that’s just really interested in how AI is being used everyday or to share with the anti-technology doomsdayers we all have in our lives.
5. The Sooner You Expose A Baby To A Second Language, The Smarter They’ll Be
In what might be the cutest study ever to be conducted, researchers have discovered that babies who are raised as bilingual “develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving – before they even speak."
“The babies from English- and Spanish-speaking households had lots of activity in the prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex – the regions of the brain responsible for executive functions, like decision-making and problem-solving. “Our results suggest that before they even start talking, babies raised in bilingual households are getting practice at tasks related to executive function,” said lead author Naja Ferjan Ramírez in a press release. “Babies raised listening to two languages seem to stay ‘open’ to the sounds of novel languages longer than their monolingual peers, which is a good and highly adaptive thing for their brains to do,” co-author Patricia Kuhl said in the same release.”
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