The Week in Review: July 21, 2023

If you recently joined Threads, you might have noticed a major missing feature in the app’s early days: translation. If you happened across a post in a language you didn’t understand, you would either have to scroll on by or copy and paste it into a third-party translation tool.

Well, no more: In its second major update, the team behind Threads has added a translation feature, improving the multilingual experience for users and making it easier to access content in a foreign language.

Before you log off for the weekend, go ahead and read up on the Threads update — plus stories from Live Science, Preply, Flitto Localization, and more — below.

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Threads update adds translation and a flurry of minor improvements (via TechCrunch)

Meta recently launched its Twitter competitor, Threads, in an attempt to attract users who were disgruntled with the recent (mis)-management of Twitter.

As the app’s gained popularity, the team behind its development is working to improve the overall experience for users — it recently added a machine translation feature to allow users to view content in their preferred language. It’s just one of a handful of features that were recently added to the app in its second major update.

How AI is helping to translate the Bible into rare languages (via Catholic News Agency)

A team of researchers at the University of Southern California recently launched Greek Room, an AI-powered tool to streamline the translation of the most translated book in the world: the Bible. 

Although the Bible is so widely translated, it’s only been translated into about 700 of the world’s 7,000 languages — the researchers are hoping to make it even more accessible in particularly rare languages.

“We don’t think that AI can replace the human translator. We see it as a support role to help in this very challenging task of translating the Bible into languages where there’s often almost no written records of any kind,” one of the researchers told the Catholic News Agency.

Ancient ‘unknown’ script finally deciphered 70 years after first being discovered (via Live Science)

It’s almost like a modern-day Rosetta Stone situation — after its discovery seven decades ago, researchers have finally been able to piece together the meaning of a puzzling text written in the Kushan script. 

While not all of the script has been deciphered just yet, the researchers are optimistic that they’ll figure out the rest with a little more elbow grease.

“We have worked out that the so-called ‘Kushan script’ was used to record a previously unknown Middle Iranian language,” the lead author of the study told Live Science. “We had parallel texts and we knew that the elements they contained were likely to come up in our script. Step by step, we were able to read more and more Iranian words, so it became clear that this was an Iranian language.”

Preply, the language app known for its live tutors, closes out Series C at $120M and doubles down on AI (via TechCrunch)

Move over, Babbel and Duolingo — there’s another language-learning app that’s making waves: Preply. 

The startup recently closed out its Series C round of funding at $120 million — TechCrunch took an in-depth look at the company’s development thus far, and how the recent round of funding should boost their efforts to implement AI in the language learning process.

“While human-led learning will always be at Preply’s core, the company is using AI as an engine to scale learning, improve access and focus on teaching like never before,” the company said in its announcement. “This is a natural extension of Preply’s DNA in machine learning that it has always used to pair tutors and learners.”

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