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Company seeks automatic Chinese voice translation

By Cao Yin in Urumqi | chinadaily.co.cn | Updated: 2017-05-10 22:16

A Chinese voice recognition firm said it is working on a voice system to achieve automatic translation of Chinese to languages widely used in West and Central Asia, aiming to contribute to communications among countries along the Belt and Road Initiative.

iFlytek, the Shenzhen-listed tech firm, has basically completed its study of the automatic translation of Mandarin to the Uygur language since it came to establish a lab in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2010, according to KaharKadeer, a company employee.

"Now, the automatic translation has been adopted," he said. "It can help officials from other areas unfamiliar with the Uygur language work with our local residents, as well as can provide language translation services in public places, such as railway stations."

Based on its success, the company began extending the application to other languages, especially Kazakh and Russian, which is in great demand after the initiative was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

"Language is very important to push forward the initiative, as understanding each other can improve connection in many other ways, such as in business," said KaharKadeer. "Xinjiang has a good geological location to talk to countries in Western and Central Asia, so building the lab here is easier for us to have tests."

As for the tests, he confirmed they are facing a lot of difficulties.

"For example, we have to find those who can speak Kazakh or Russian and then collect their voices as big data, but actually the number of people or experts speaking the two languages is not very big," he said.

Although the study is costing the firm much time, "We'll still try our best to complete it, and what's more, we'll also make more efforts to ensure the accuracy of our system's translation," he added.

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