Microsoft Translator adds Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, 10 other African languages
Microsoft has added three Nigerian languages (Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba) to its Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services Translator.
They are part of 10 new African languages just launched on the Microsoft Translator.
This enables text and documents to be translated to and from these languages across the entire Microsoft ecosystem of products and services.
This is coming after last year’s release of Somali and Zulu, according to a statement.
It lists the latest African languages to be supported as chiShona, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Luganda, Nyanja, Rundi, Sesotho, Sesotho sa Leboa, Setswana, Xhosa and Yoruba.
This brings the total number of supported languages to 124 and adds language support for millions of people in Africa and worldwide.
Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, says, “It is so powerful to be able to access knowledge and learn in one’s own language. The addition of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba builds on the ongoing work Microsoft is undertaking in Nigeria to empower our communities with access to content in indigenous languages. Through this release we continue to build meaningful cognitive products and services that improve accessibility and break down the language barrier between people and cultures across Nigeria and Africa.”
It also notes that integrations across Microsoft’s ecosystem include Microsoft 365 for translating text and documents, the Microsoft Edge browser and Bing search engine for translating whole webpages, SwiftKey for translating messages, LinkedIn for translating user-submitted content, and the Translator app for having multilingual conversations on the move, among others.
It also says in the statement that using Translator, people and organisations could add African languages’ text translation to apps, websites, workflows, and tools; or use Translator’s Document Translation feature to translate entire documents, or volumes of documents, in a variety of different file formats preserving their original formatting.
They can also use Translator with Cognitive Services such as Speech or Computer Vision to add additional capabilities such as speech-to-text and image translation into their apps. Educators can create a more inclusive classroom for both students and parents with live captioning and cross-language understanding.
Microsoft has continuously added languages and dialects to its Translator service while ensuring the translation quality of the supported languages by using the latest neural machine translation (NMT) techniques.
The company, through its Microsoft Research unit, first developed machine translation systems more than a decade ago – and has consistently built on and improved these systems and techniques, adopting NMT technology as Artificial Intelligence (AI) evolved and migrating all machine translation systems to neural models to improve translation fluency and accuracy.
According to the firm, working with partners in language communities who can help gather data for specific languages and who have access to human-translated texts also helps to overcome the challenge of obtaining enough bilingual data to train and produce a machine translation model. This network of partners help collect bilingual data, consult with community members and evaluate the quality of the resulting machine translation models.
It notes that these ever-improving capabilities make it possible for businesses to expand their global reach, enabling them to communicate with customers and partners across languages and localise content and apps quickly, reliably, and affordably.
“Language should never be a barrier to using technology. With the addition of new African languages, more people and businesses will be enabled to connect across languages seamlessly,” says Williams.
It also says there are plans to add more of the continent’s most widely spoken languages as part of Microsoft’s mission to build meaningful cognitive products and services that improve accessibility and local engagement.
Nigeria Air will commence operation before May 29 – FG
The Federal Government says the new national carrier, Nigeria Air, will commence operation before the end of the current administration on May 29.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday.
He spoke amid worry about a lingering court case instituted against the project by airline operators of Nigeria.
Sirika gave the assurances during the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023.
He said the Federal Government was already taking measures to overcome the hurdles introduced by the indigenous airlines.
According to him, the project is 98 per cent completed.
“All of the road map items except, perhaps the airline, which in my opinion is at 98 per cent completion, and we will fly within the remaining two months by the grace of God,” the minister said.
“We will also finish the concessions. So, all those things we said we would do when we came in, we did them.”
The minister described as unfair the action of the local airlines, adding that the Buhari government had supported local airlines more than all previous governments.
He accused them of constituting a stumbling block to the actualisation of the national carrier expected to generate new jobs and better opportunities in the industry.
He said the Nigerian Aviation industry is the only one in the world where qualified pilots are without jobs.
He said 50 pilots had come to him complaining about their unemployment status, adding that the national carrier should be able to employ more pilots and create other job opportunities.
He said Ethiopian Airlines, the offered bidder for the national carrier, is highly competent and profitable enough to add value to the Nigerian aviation sector.
FAAC shares to FG, states, LGs drop by N27.4bn
The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared N722.677 billion among the three tiers of government for February 2023.
This is a drop of N27.497 billion compared to January’s allocation of N750.174 billion.
FAAC disclosed this in a communique issued at the end of its meeting for March 2023 in Abuja on Wednesday.
The committee said the N722.677 billion total distributable revenue comprised statutory revenue of N366.800 billion, value-added tax (VAT) revenue of N224.232 billion, electronic money transfer levy (EMTL) of N11.645 billion, and N120 billion augmentation from forex equalisation account.
According to the comminiqué, in February 2023, the total deductions for cost of collection was N27.449 billion, while total deductions for transfers, savings, recoveries and refunds was N109.909 billion.
From the total distributable revenue of N722.677 billion, FAAC said the Federal Government received N269.063 billion, states got N236.464 billion and N173.936 billion went to the local governments.
A total sum of N43.214 billion was also shared with the relevant states as 13 per cent derivation revenue.
FAAC said a statutory revenue of N487.106 billion was received for the month of February 2023.
This, it said, was lower than the N653.704 billion received in the previous month by N166.598 billion.
From the balance of N366.800 billion distributable statutory revenue, the committee noted that the FG received N178.683 billion, states collected N90.630 billion, and local governments got N69.872 billion.
It added that the sum of N27.614 billion was shared as 13 per cent derivation revenue among the concerned states.
According to FAAC, the gross revenue available from the value-added tax (VAT) for February was N240.799 billion, which is lower than the previous month’s.
The committee said from the N224.232 billion value-added tax (VAT), FG was given N33.635 billion, states received N112.116 billion and local governments were paid N78.481 billion.
Lamborghini to unveil new supercar replacing Aventador March 29
Lamborghini has announced a new supercar replacing Aventador will be launched March 29, 2023.
Arriving a little over 12 years after the Aventador (LP700-4), the new plug-in hybrid V12 supercar will be known as LB744.
The announcement on social media is coming only a day after Lamborghini showcased the LB744’s digital instrument cluster and steering wheel.
The new supercar will have an all-wheel-drive electric mode, in which case power will be limited to just 180hp.
To access the full 1,000hp coming from the naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 and three electric motors, drivers will have to activate Corsa mode.
Lamborghini introduced the Aventador on February 28, 2011.
The firm says the 12-cylinder engine won’t be carried over from the Aventador as it will be an all-new development. It will weigh 37 pounds (17 kilogrammes) less than the old V12 by tipping the scales at 481 lbs (218kg). The ICE will be good for 813 horsepower at 9,250 rpm and 535 pound-feet (725 Newton-meters) of torque at 6,750 rpm.
It will send its output to the road via a new eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission Lamborghini will also install in the Huracan’s replacement late next year.
Housed within the centre tunnel will be a 3.8-kWh battery that can be replenished by the V12 in six minutes, or via the charging port in 30 minutes at seven kilowatts.
The LB744 also has regenerative braking to send the energy that would otherwise be lost to the battery.
Fully charged, Lamborghini says the supercar can do more than six miles (10 kilometres) without sipping any petrol.
The electrified powertrain will cut CO2 emissions by 30 per cent compared to the Aventador Ultimae.
To offset the added weight commanded by the PHEV setup, the new raging bull has a different carbon fibre monocoque (dubbed “monofuselage”) that weighs 10 per cent less than its predecessor. At the same time, it is 25 per cent stiffer. Lamborghini has not announced details about the curb weight, it is distributed 44 per cent front and 56 per cent rear.
Other known facts about the LB744 include a reduced steering ratio (-10 per cent compared to the Aventador Ultimae), rear-wheel steering, and stiffer anti-roll bars (+11 per cent front and +50 per cent rear).
The DCT sits behind the V12 engine to make room in the transmission tunnel for the lithium-ion battery.
New bespoke Bridgestone Potenza Sport tyres are four per cent wider at the front where Lamborghini will install bigger brakes: 410x38mm discs instead of the Ultimae’s 400x38mm discs, and with ten instead of six pistons.
The rear discs are also bigger, at 390×32 mm vs 380x38mm.
The LB744 will be the first of three PHEVs from Lamborghini as the Urus SUV and Huracan successor will both get a charging port in 2024.
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