Social Mixer 2024 Singapore
marketing interactive Content360 Singapore 2024 Content360 Singapore 2024
Meta develops AI-powered speech translation for unwritten language Hokkien

Meta develops AI-powered speech translation for unwritten language Hokkien

share on

Meta has unveiled its first AI-powered speech translation system for an unwritten language, Hokkien. According to the company, the translation system is the first milestone for Meta AI’s Universal Speech Translator project, which focuses on developing AI systems that provide real-time speech-to-speech translation across all languages, even primarily spoken ones. CEO Mark Zuckerberg first shared the company's progress on this research during its AI Inside the Lab event in February.

Meta is also releasing a demo, open-sourcing the Hokkien translation model, the benchmark datasets, and the speech matrix, which is a large corpus of speech-to-speech translations. The hope is this will enable researchers to create their own speech-to-speech translation systems and build on Meta's work.

Hokkien is widely spoken within the Chinese diaspora in countries including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and China. In 2017, Singapore had 1.5 million Hokkien speakers while there were 13.5 million in Taiwan, two million in Malaysia, 28 million in China and one million in the Philippines, Meta said.

Building an AI speech translation system for Hokkien was no easy feat, Meta said, as these tools are normally trained on large quantities of text. Given that there is no widely known standard writing system for Hokkien and there isn't much paired speech data available in comparison, Meta found it challenging to collect and annotate data to train the model. 

To get around these problems, Meta researchers used texts written in Mandarin, which is similar to Hokkien. The team also worked closely with Hokkien speakers to ensure that the translations were correct. 

Separately, on the creative leadership front, Meta brought on board Valerie Madon, as director of creative shop for Southeast Asia. She was most recently VMLY&R's chief creative officer, Asia, joined Meta.

Digital Marketing Asia is back for its 10th year! 10 years of exclusive insights, experience sharing and great success stories. Join us for three days of hyper-focused presentation topics across six tracks on 15 - 17 November and connect with 1000+ of the world's brightest minds in the marketing world to learn and upscale from 85+ speakers from the hottest regional and global brands. Click here to register now!

Related articles:
Meta names Patrick Pan head of Hong Kong and Taiwan
Meta sees first revenue dip, measurement headwinds still an issue
Casetify makes metaverse leap with exclusive phone cases
Study: Metaverse and NFTs among areas creators monetise
Redhill beefs up metaverse offering with Pixel Canvas tie-up

share on

Follow us on our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene.

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top marketing stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's marketing development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window