Microsoft Translator Blog

Australian Museum and the University of New South Wales Team with Microsoft to Preserve Australian Aboriginal Languages

In 1901, the year of the Australian Federation, there were 750 aboriginal languages spoken around the newly formed nation. Today there are fewer than 20 languages in active use. The rest are categorized by UNESCO from threatened to extinct.

We are pleased to announce Microsoft’s partnership with the Australian Museum and the University of New South Wales to launch the Australian Museum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Living Languages Lab, powered by Microsoft, with the aim of safeguarding these aboriginal languages. The lab will use Microsoft Machine Learning and Translation technologies to support Australian indigenous communities in preserving their languages and teaching them to a new generation.

Microsoft Translator has taken language preservation very seriously, joining with communities to create language translation systems for languages like Hmong Daw, Queretaro Otomi, Urdu, Welsh, and Yucatec Maya. These community partners have worked with the Microsoft Translator team to train and deploy their own language systems using the Microsoft Translator Hub. Once deployed, these new language systems were integrated into Translator’s list of supported languages, allowing them to be used not only by their own communities, but by the world at large.

Other language systems that were created by community partners using the Translator Hub include Kiswahili, Latvian, and even Klingon from the fictional Star Trek universe.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Translator Hub and Microsoft Translator’s commitment to language preservation.

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