200 languages within a single AI model: A breakthrough in high-quality machine translation

AI at Meta
6 Jul 202204:40

TLDRMeta AI's breakthrough allows for high-quality translation of 200 languages, nearly doubling current capabilities. This advancement aims to bridge the gap for low-resource languages, enabling billions to communicate in their native tongues. The project focuses on finding scarce data and training a single, effective multilingual model. By combining automated and human evaluations, the goal is to enhance the inclusivity of the metaverse and promote global connection without language barriers.


  • 🌐 Language is crucial for self-expression and community building, serving as a bridge for communication and inclusion.
  • 📈 The breakthrough AI model aims to translate 200 languages, nearly doubling the capabilities of existing models.
  • 🤝 The initiative, 'No Language Left Behind', seeks to empower billions by facilitating communication in native languages.
  • 🌍 The model will impact low-resource languages like Assamese and Zulu, enhancing accessibility to technology for these communities.
  • 🔍 A novel approach to data collection involves finding rare data and training models with diverse sentence comparisons.
  • 💬 Both automated and human evaluations are conducted to ensure the quality of translations across different languages.
  • 🌟 Meta AI strives to improve not only high-resource languages but also lesser-known ones like Icelandic, Hausa, and Occitan.
  • 📚 The vision includes translating cultural works, such as poems, from low-resource languages to more widely used ones.
  • 🍳 The potential application of AR tools in cooking from diverse cultural cookbooks illustrates the technology's versatility.
  • 🎉 The goal is to create an inclusive metaverse by removing language barriers, allowing for genuine understanding and experience sharing.
  • 🔄 Open-sourcing the code invites the research community to collaborate and innovate, further advancing language technologies.

Q & A

  • Why is language considered important according to the interviewees?

    -Language is considered important as it is the primary means of self-expression and communication. It is essential for connecting with others and being part of a community. Without understanding language, individuals can feel excluded and left behind.

  • What is the goal of the 'No Language Left Behind' initiative?

    -The 'No Language Left Behind' initiative aims to expand translation capabilities to 200 languages, which is nearly double the number of languages covered by current models. This would significantly impact billions of people by allowing them to communicate in their native languages.

  • How does the AI model address the challenge of low-resource languages?

    -The AI model addresses the challenge of low-resource languages by developing an approach that finds a needle in the haystack, comparing different sentences that can be used to train the models. This requires finding more data and sometimes involves engaging with speakers of those languages directly.

  • What are the evaluation methods used to determine the quality of translation?

    -Both automated metric evaluations and human evaluations are used to determine the quality of translation provided for each language. This ensures that the AI model performs well across all 200 languages it covers.

  • How does the AI model's development impact high-resource languages?

    -The development of the AI model not only improves translation capabilities for low-resource languages but also enhances the quality of translations for high-resource languages, such as Icelandic, Hausa, and Occitan.

  • What is the significance of translating low-resource languages into high-resource languages?

    -Translating low-resource languages into high-resource languages allows the works, such as poems, created in these languages to reach a wider audience and be appreciated globally. This promotes cultural exchange and understanding.

  • How does the AI model relate to the concept of the metaverse?

    -The AI model supports the concept of the metaverse by eliminating language barriers, enabling everyone to understand each other's experiences without changing how they communicate. This makes the metaverse more inclusive by design.

  • What is the role of the research community in improving language translation technologies?

    -The research community plays a crucial role by engaging with the AI model's development, pushing the boundaries of what's possible, and benefiting from the open-sourced code to build even better translation technologies.

  • How can the AI model influence the way people live, do business, and are educated?

    -The AI model can significantly change these aspects by breaking down language barriers, allowing for better global connectivity, easier international trade, and improved access to educational resources across different languages.

  • What is the core mission of the 'No Language Left Behind' initiative?

    -The core mission of 'No Language Left Behind' is to ensure that all languages are represented and included in translation technologies, allowing people to connect and communicate without being limited by language barriers.



🌐 The Importance of Language and Inclusion

This paragraph discusses the significance of language in expressing oneself and connecting with others. It emphasizes how language is central to community and self-expression, and the challenges faced by those who lack access to effective translation services for their native, often low-resource, languages. The speaker highlights the ambitious goal of expanding translation capabilities to 200 languages, which would significantly increase the number of people who can communicate in their own language. The challenges of finding data and training models for such a diverse range of languages are also addressed, along with the importance of both automated and human evaluations to ensure translation quality. The speaker shares personal anecdotes about the value of translating low-resource languages, such as Assamese, and imagines a future where technology can help bridge cultural gaps, like translating poems or accessing diverse cookbooks. The overarching mission is to eliminate language barriers and create an inclusive metaverse.




Language is the primary means of human communication, encompassing the complex system of words, grammar, and syntax used to convey thoughts, emotions, and information. In the context of the video, language is portrayed as a vital tool for self-expression, community building, and inclusion. It is emphasized that understanding language is crucial to avoid being left behind in a world where communication is key. The video discusses the importance of expanding translation capabilities to 200 languages, highlighting the significance of including low-resource languages to bridge the gap for billions of people who lack effective translation services for their native tongues.

💡Machine Translation

Machine translation refers to the process of automatically converting text or speech from one language to another using software or artificial intelligence. In the video, the breakthrough in high-quality machine translation is highlighted as a significant achievement, enabling billions of people to communicate in their native languages. The development of a single AI model capable of translating 200 languages is seen as a monumental step forward, especially for low-resource languages that often lack sufficient data for effective translation models. This technology aims to make the digital world more accessible and inclusive by breaking down language barriers.

💡Low-Resource Languages

Low-resource languages are those that have limited documentation, data, or technological support due to their relatively smaller number of speakers or less global prominence. The video script emphasizes the challenge of including these languages in translation models due to the scarcity of clean data. It mentions that the AI model aims to cover a wide range of languages, from Assamese to Zulu, which are considered low-resource and difficult to process due to the lack of available data. The development approach for these languages involves innovative methods to find and utilize sparse data effectively, ensuring that even languages with fewer speakers can be included in the translation model.


Inclusion in the context of the video refers to the act of ensuring that everyone, regardless of their language, has the opportunity to participate and benefit from technological advancements. The 'No Language Left Behind' initiative is centered around this concept of inclusion, aiming to provide translation capabilities for 200 languages and thereby allowing people from diverse linguistic backgrounds to access and engage with digital content and platforms. The goal is to create a world where language barriers do not hinder communication or limit an individual's ability to connect with others or access information and opportunities.

💡Meta AI

Meta AI is the research division of Meta (formerly Facebook) that focuses on developing artificial intelligence technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, and more. In the video, Meta AI is credited with the breakthrough of expanding translation capabilities to 200 languages, improving both high-resource languages and lower-resource languages like Icelandic, Hausa, and Occitan. The work of Meta AI in this area is seen as a significant step towards making the metaverse more inclusive by design and ensuring that the technology developed can be a force for good, bridging the digital divide and fostering global communication.


The metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual reality. In the video, it is suggested that the metaverse will be the ultimate platform where language barriers can be eliminated, allowing for seamless and comprehensive understanding among people from diverse backgrounds. The development of the metaverse is expected to be a melting pot of cultures, languages, and experiences, and the advancements in AI and machine translation are seen as critical components in making this vision a reality, ensuring that everyone can participate and communicate without changing their natural way of expressing themselves.


Open-source refers to a type of software or product whose source code is made available to the public, allowing anyone to view, use, modify, and distribute the software freely. In the context of the video, Meta AI's decision to open-source their code is highlighted as a significant move towards fostering community engagement and collaborative innovation. By sharing their research and developments openly, they aim to empower the broader research community and language enthusiasts to contribute to the improvement and expansion of the translation model, ultimately leading to a more robust and inclusive technological solution for all languages.

💡Translation Quality

Translation quality refers to the accuracy, fluency, and faithfulness of a translated text or speech in conveying the original meaning and context. The video emphasizes the importance of evaluating the quality of translations provided by the AI model, using both automated metrics and human evaluations. This ensures that the translations are not only technically correct but also culturally and contextually appropriate, providing a genuine and meaningful communication experience for users. The goal is to offer high-quality translation services that can effectively bridge the gap between different languages and cultures, enhancing the overall user experience on Meta platforms.

💡Cultural Cookbooks

Cultural cookbooks represent the culinary traditions, recipes, and cooking methods of a specific culture or region. In the video, the concept of using new technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) tools, to explore cookbooks from different cultures is introduced. This idea illustrates the potential of technology to break down barriers and enable individuals to experience and learn about diverse cultures in an interactive and immersive way. By translating these cookbooks into one's native language, individuals can engage more deeply with other cultures, promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

💡Global Communication

Global communication refers to the exchange of information, ideas, and messages across different countries, cultures, and languages. The video underscores the critical role of translation in facilitating global communication, enabling people from around the world to connect and collaborate despite linguistic differences. The development of an AI model capable of translating 200 languages is seen as a transformative tool that can significantly enhance global communication, fostering a more interconnected and cohesive world. By removing language barriers, the AI model aims to empower individuals and communities to share their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives on a global scale.

💡Community Engagement

Community engagement involves actively involving and collaborating with the public or specific groups to achieve shared goals or address common challenges. In the video, the importance of engaging with the community, particularly the research community and language enthusiasts, is emphasized. By involving these stakeholders in the development and refinement of the translation model, Meta AI aims to harness diverse perspectives and expertise, leading to a more effective and inclusive solution. The open-sourcing of code and the focus on community-driven innovation reflect a commitment to collective progress and the democratization of technology, ensuring that language preservation and advancement are community-led efforts.


Language is crucial for self-expression and communication.

Language is a key to inclusion; without understanding, people can be marginalized.

The 'No Language Left Behind' initiative aims to expand translation capabilities to 200 languages.

The new model covers nearly twice as many languages as current state-of-the-art models.

This initiative can impact billions by allowing communication in native languages.

Many people worldwide lack access to effective translation services for their languages.

The project focuses on low-resource languages, such as Assamese and Zulu.

Data scarcity is a challenge; the team developed an approach to find relevant sentences for model training.

The team seeks to train a single multilingual model that performs well across all 200 languages.

Both automated and human evaluations are used to assess translation quality.

Meta AI releases models that can make a significant difference, improving both high and low-resource languages.

The future envisions easy translation of low-resource languages like Assamese into high-resource languages.

New technologies, including AR tools, could enable users to engage with diverse cultures, such as through cookbooks.

The goal is to eliminate language barriers for a universally inclusive metaverse.

The technology aims to be inclusive by design, benefiting from community and research collaboration.

Meta AI open-sources their code to allow the research community to build upon and improve it.

Language communities are seen as key to advancing their languages within the model.

Translation will play a vital role in connecting people globally on Meta platforms.

The initiative promises to revolutionize personal lives, business, and education by breaking down language barriers.

The mission is to keep the 'No Language Left Behind' principle at the core of their work.