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Facebook’s new AI model translates 100 languages — without going through English first

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Facebook has open-sourced an AI model that can translate between any pair of 100 languages without first translating them to English as an intermediary step.

The system, called M2M-100, is currently only a research project, but could eventually be used to translate posts for Facebook users, nearly two-thirds of whom use a language other than English.

“For years, AI researchers have been working toward building a single universal model that can understand all languages across different tasks,” said Facebook research assistant Angela Fan in a blogpost.

“A single model that supports all languages, dialects, and modalities will help us better serve more people, keep translations up to date, and create new experiences for billions of people equally. This work brings us closer to this goal.”

[Read: Researchers use AI to translate text found on ancient clay tablets]

The model was trained on a dataset of 7.5 billion sentence pairs across 100 languages that were mined from the web. Facebook says all of these resources are open source and use publicly available data.

To manage the scale of the mining, the researchers focused on language translations that were most commonly requested and avoided the rarer ones, such as Sinhala-Javanese.

They then grouped the languages into 14 different groups, based on linguistic, geographic, and cultural similarities. This approach was chosen because people in countries with languages that share these characteristics would be more likely to benefit from translations between them.

For instance, one group included common languages in India, such as Hindi, Bengali, and Marathi. All the possible language pairs within each group were then mined.

The languages of different groups were connected through a small number of bridge languages. In the example of the Indian language group, Hindi, Bengali, and Tamil served as bridge languages for Indo-Aryan languages.

The team then mined training data for all combinations of these bridge languages, which left them with a dataset of 7.5 billion parallel sentences corresponding to 2,200 translation directions.

For languages lacking quality translation data, the researchers used a method called back-translation to generate synthetic translations that can supplement the mined data.

This combination of techniques resulted in the first multilingual machine translation (MMT) model that can translate between any pair of 100 languages without relying on English data, according to Facebook.

“When translating, say, Chinese to French, most English-centric multilingual models train on Chinese to English and English to French, because English training data is the most widely available,” said Fan. “Our model directly trains on Chinese to French data to better preserve meaning.”

The model has not yet been incorporated in any products, but tests suggest it could support a wide variety of translations on Facebook, where people post content in more than 160 languages. The company says it outperformed English-centric systems by 10 points on the BLEU metric for assessing machine translations.

Published October 20, 2020 — 10:41 UTC

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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