Meta has announced an AI-powered speech-to-speech translation system for unwritten languages.

As part of Meta’s Universal Speech Translator (UST) project, the company has built a translation system for Hokkien, which is a primarily oral language of the Chinese diaspora but lacks a standard written form, the company said in a blog post.

Since oral languages do not have standard written forms, producing transcribed text as the translation output does not work. So, the company has focused on speech-to-speech translation.

The company has created a number of techniques, such as speech-to-unit translation, which converts input speech into a series of sounds and generates waveforms from them.

Buy Me A Coffee

Another technique is to use text from a closely related language to generate waveforms.

The Hokkien translation model is still in progress and can translate only one full sentence at a time, the company said.

The company is also releasing SpeechMatrix which is a large collection of speech-to-speech translations developed through a natural language processing toolkit called LASER.

The tools will allow other researchers to create their own speech-to-speech translation systems.

“Our AI research is helping break down language barriers in both the physical world and the metaverse to encourage connection and mutual understanding,” the company said.

READ
James Webb Space Telescope Finds a Jeweled Ring in the Cosmos