Weekly Shorts | May 7, 2021

Portuguese Diplomat Pushes for Official Language Status at United Nations

Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said in a press conference that he plans to advocate for the United Nations (UN) to adopt Portuguese as an official language. Santos Silva spoke at the press conference to discuss plans for World Portuguese Day, which took place on May 5. Portuguese, among the ten most widely spoken languages in the world, is a working language in some organizations of the UN, such as UNESCO, however it still has a long way to go to achieve official status within the organization.

GEtraNet Acquires Lingua World

GEtraNet has joined the ranks of the ten largest language service providers (LSP) in Germany after the acquisition of Lingua World. This acquisition (link is in German), which was officially signed on April 30, also brings GEtraNet onto the list of the top 100 biggest LSPs in the world. The company will take over all of Lingua World’s German locations.

TAUS and SYSTRAN Form Strategic Alliance

TAUS and SYSTRAN have announced they are forming a strategic alliance, as the two companies have slightly different specializations that their leadership believes complement each other well. TAUS focuses on language data used for training and customizing machine translation (MT) systems, while SYSTRAN specializes in developing MT technology for professionals. TAUS also recently announced the formation of a new partnership with another LSP, Intento.

Māori Aim to Protect Language from Tech Companies

After receiving hundreds of hours of recorded Māori speech in 2018, New Zealand-based radio station Te Hiku Media found itself with a wealth of data that could be used for building language technology like automated speech recognition software or speech-to-text systems for the language. However, a recent report in WIRED suggests that the team was shortly thereafter approached about selling this data to big tech firms, a move that has made some members of the team suspicious of the firms’ intentions.

Twitter Seeks Speakers of Yoruba, Hausa, and More for African Office

Following the recent opening of a new African office in Accra, Ghana, Twitter has announced that it is looking for speakers of various languages spoken in Nigeria and Ghana to analyze news content in the languages. The company’s main focus is on Pidgin English, Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa, and they are seeking individuals who can curate and interpret articles in these languages.

Google Launches App Geared for Language Preservation

A new app designed by Google Arts & Culture aims to use machine learning and image detection technology to help preserve vulnerable or less widely spoken languages like Sicilian and Yiddish. The app, called Woolaroo, was developed by Google in partnership with language preservation advocates around the world, and offers users the opportunity to learn words in ten different languages by using their camera to scan objects in their environment and automatically translate their names into the target language.

MultiLingual Staff
MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.


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