isiXhosa, the second most spoken language is South Africa, has just been added to Google Translate in the language service’s new update.

Amharic, Shona , Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Sindhi and Pashto have also been added as part of the update.

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This now brings the number of supported languages to 103, which, hypothetically speaking, helps bring a combined 120 million new people who speak any of added languages, onto the platform.

However in reality, that would only be possible if everyone of these people had access to the internet and Google Translate

Google Translate already features South African languages Afrikaans, SeSotho and isiZulu.

A lot of work goes into adding a new language onto Google Translate.

“Beyond the basic criteria that it must be a written language, we also need a significant amount of translations in the new language to be available on the web. From there, we use a combination of machine learning, licensed content and Translate Community,” the company explained.

Google Translate also scans the internet for billions of already translated texts and uses machine learning to identify statistical patterns at enormous scale, so that its machines can “learn” the language.

It also ropes in the help of ordinary internet users like you and I to help correct grammatical errors, add more words and improve accuracy. So far, over three million people have contributed approximately 200 million translated words.

The update will come into effect across the world over the next few days.

[Source – Google Translate, Image – cc South African Tourism]