TIME Magazine recognized three language-industry products in its “Best Inventions of 2023” list, underscoring the importance of multilingual communication, accessibility, and inclusion in today’s globalized world.
For its Artificial Intelligence category, the magazine selected Meta’s SeamlessM4T — a multilingual machine translation (MT) model it calls a “master translator.” SeamlessM4T boasts impressive capabilities, with on-demand translation in almost 100 languages across speech and text. “Besides working with far more languages than predecessors, the system is more efficient and less error-prone,” writes Pranav Dixit, one of the authors of the Best Inventions article. “Meta has made the model open source, which means that researchers all around the world can use its code.”
Additionally, the magazine named Duolingo Music a top invention of the year in its Apps & Software category. Duolingo’s new music literacy course applies the company’s engaging teaching method that millions of people have used to learn languages to the study of musical concepts like rhythm, pitch, and structure. “You learn by interacting with over 200 popular songs … matching sounds to notes and contributing to the larger musical piece,” writes article coauthor Jeff Wilser. The free course will be integrated into the Duolingo app and will first be available in English and Spanish to iOS users.
Finally, in its Accessibility category, the publication lists LEGO Braille Bricks: toys that help visually impaired children — or anyone, for that matter — learn braille in a playful way. “Once available only through schools and other educational institutions … the set (currently available in English and French, with more languages on the way) takes the classic 2×4 building brick and modifies its knobs to correspond with the braille alphabet, numbers, and symbols,” writes coauthor John Mihaly.
This year isn’t the first time a language-focused product has appeared on the magazine’s Best Inventions list; in 2021, multilingual videoconferencing system KUDO Interpreter Marketplace was honored in the Connectivity category.