Google Translate adding 13 languages including Hawaiian, Xhosa and Samoan

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Feb. 18, 2016 at 9:02 AM
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Google on Wednesday announced it introduced 13 new languages, including Hawaiian,Pashto and Xhosa, to its Translate service -- bringing the total number offered to 103.

In a statement, Google said Translate, which began in 2006 translating English to Arabic, Chinese and Russian, now includes 99 percent of the online population.

"The 13 new languages -- Amharic, Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Shona, Sindhi, Pashto and Xhosa -- help bring a combined 120 million new people to the billions who can already communicate with Translate all over the world," Google writes.

Google, headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., also provided some facts about its newly introduced languages:

• Amharic (Ethiopia) is the second most widely spoken Semitic language after Arabic.

• Corsican (Island of Corsica, France) is closely related to Italian and was Napoleon's first language.

• Frisian (Netherlands and Germany) is the native language of over half the inhabitants of the Friesland province of the Netherlands.

• Kyrgyz (Kyrgyzstan) is the language of the Epic of Manas, which is 20 times longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey put together.

• Hawaiian (Hawaii) has lent several words to the English language, such as ukulele and wiki.

• Kurdish (Kurmanji) (Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria) is written with Latin letters while the other two varieties of Kurdish are written with Arabic script.

• Luxembourgish (Luxembourg) completes the list of official European Union languages in Translate.

• Samoan (Samoa and American Samoa) is written using only 14 letters.

• Scots Gaelic (Scottish highlands, U.K.) was introduced by Irish settlers in the 4th century.

• Shona (Zimbabwe) is the most widely spoken of the hundreds of languages in the Bantu family.

• Sindhi (Pakistan and India) was the native language of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the "Father of the Nation" of Pakistan.

• Pashto (Afghanistan and Pakistan) is written in Perso-Arabic script with an additional 12 letters, for a total of 44.

• Xhosa (South Africa) is the second most common native language in the country after Afrikaans and features three kinds of clicks, represented by the letters x, q and c.

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