Indian language AI tool ‘Bhashini’ used to translate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech

Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the AI-powered Bhashini tool so that his Tamil audience could hear a real-time translation of his Hindi speech

December 18, 2023 11:31 am | Updated 12:25 pm IST - VARANASI

Bhashini was developed by the government, with tens of thousands of people in India adding data [File]

Bhashini was developed by the government, with tens of thousands of people in India adding data [File] | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi used an AI-powered Indian language translation tool, Bhashini, during a speech in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, to provide a translated version in real time.

Bhashini was developed by the government, with tens of thousands of people in India adding data from their native languages to create open source language datasets upon which others can build tools, reported Reuters earlier this month.

Modi was speaking to people at the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi. He began his address by requesting the Tamil-speaking audience to use their earphones to access a translation, before continuing his address to them in Hindi.

“Today, the use of new technology has taken place here through Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is a new beginning and hopefully, it makes it easier for me to reach you,” PM Modi said at the event, reported ANI.

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AI large language models powering chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are based on English by default and often provide more accurate data when dealing with languages like French and Spanish that use the Roman script. As a result, many non-Western languages have been left behind in the AI race, even as computer scientists try to fill this gap.

During his speech, Modi drew attention to Hindu history as well as the cultural highlights of both Tamil Nadu and Varanasi. The Kashi Tamil Sangamam is aimed at promoting travel and pilgrimages by Tamil people in Varanasi.

While seamless machine-enabled translations between Indian languages are still a challenge, Canva’s AI-powered Magic Studio, which was launched in October, supports translating text from English to dozens of world languages including Hindi, Bengali, and Tamil.

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