Instant translation

Using new technology to unlock opportunities for learning, skills and employment.

Two boys use a computer together in Azerbaijan.
UNICEF/UN045095/Pirozzi

Two boys use a computer together in Azerbaijan.
UNICEF/UN045095/Pirozzi

How can we utilize artificial intelligence-based language translation to enable more young people to access resources for learning, skills development and employment?

The Issue

There are more than 6,000 spoken languages in the world today. However, most learning, skills development and work opportunities are provided in only a small handful of languages.

Language serves as a critical barrier for young people to gain the skills necessary for the future. For example, among the 12 most popular platforms that offer free online coding courses, only one offered its program in a language other than English.

The Opportunity

Instant translation technologies have recently reached a point of maturity that offers enormous potential, thanks to artificial intelligence. Machine translation and other computer assisted translation software can learn new languages with ease, resulting in better and more efficient services.

Applying these services to learning platforms can mean that young people in all parts of the world learn the skills that they need for the future – without having to learn another language first.

The translation service industry is growing and its revenue is estimated at US$37 billion in 2018.

Since launching in 2006, Google Translate has grown to over 500 million users worldwide, translating more than 100 billion words daily. In 2016, the tool supported 103 languages and 92 per cent of users reside outside of the United States.

Simply translating a website’s content and providing a localized experience for users in different markets can drive almost three times more traffic to a website, boosting traffic conversion rates along with all the other indicators of a marketing campaign. Another recent study found that businesses that translate information to communicate with their customers were 2.67 times more likely to experience an increase in revenue than companies that do not.

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