Google Translate, which helps people communicate with others using non-native languages, has just added nine more languages—including five in Africa–to its offerings, which now provides translations for 80 languages.
The milestone was announced by Arne Mauser, a Translate software engineer, in a Dec. 10 post on the Google Translate Blog.
"Whether you're trekking to a new place or simply trying to communicate with someone who doesn't share a language with you, Google Translate can help you connect to new information and people," wrote Mauser, who said Google is launching new languages that "span Africa, Asia, and Oceania and have over 200 million native speakers, collectively."
The additional African languages are Hausa (Harshen Hausa), which is spoken in Nigeria and neighboring countries with 35 million native speakers; Igbo (Asụsụ Igbo), which spoken in Nigeria with 25 million native speakers; Yoruba (èdè Yorùbá), which is spoken in Nigeria and neighboring countries with 28 million native speakers; Somali (Af-Soomaali), which is spoken in Somalia and other countries around the Horn of Africa with 17 million native speakers; and Zulu (isiZulu), which is spoken in South Africa and other southwestern African countries with 10 million native speakers, according to Mauser.
"There are lots of languages in Africa, and this is the largest expansion into African languages to date (Google Translate supports Swahili and Afrikaans already)," wrote Mauser. "The more language is used on the web, the higher chances for us to launch it one day."
Users can access the new languages through Google Translate on the desktop or through mobile apps for Android and iOS.
In addition, Translate is also launching language support for Mongolian (Монгол хэл), which is the official language in Mongolia and is also spoken in parts of China by 6 million native speakers; Nepali (नेपाली), which is spoken in Nepal and India by 17 million native speakers; and Punjabi (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) (Gurmukhi script), which is spoken in India and Pakistan by 100 million native speakers.
Also being added, wrote Mauser, is Maori (Te Reo Māori), which is spoken in New Zealand by 160,000 native speakers. The Translate effort for Maori was made possible due to the “volunteer effort of passionate native speakers in New Zealand,” he wrote.
Users who want Google Translate to add other languages to the service can participate by "volunteering to help us gather and translate texts in your language," he wrote. "We're also constantly fine-tuning our translations. You can help with these efforts by clicking the translated text and editing it to be correct. As always, we realize that we're just getting started and have a long way to go. But hopefully these new languages in Translate help you to connect with new friends and new cultures."
Google regularly updates its Translate services.
In November, Google made its Google Translate language translation app for Android faster and expanded its coverage to several additional foreign languages, including Malay and Ukranian.