…research by the early-stage accelerator Digital Financial Services Lab and research consultancy Caribou Digital shows developers are focusing much of their efforts on improving English language capabilities and less on languages from developing nations in Africa and Asia.
If voice technology is going to be the next interface to bring the next billion to the internet, it has to be inclusive. This article
explores the result of a report about the language divide. As opposed to the digital divide the language divide is an emerging divide that relegates low-income populations and less widely-spoken languages to the background.
One of the factors influencing the divide is profit.
By multiplying the number of speakers of a language by the gross domestic product per capita, the authors found the top 100 languages cover approximately 96% of global GDP. Yet these 100 languages comprised less than 60% of all populations, highlighting a fundamental tension between the commercial and social value of languages.
There is the problem of lack of data to train the systems in African languages, considering the multilingual nature of modern Africans.
Worth read to ponder on the challenges voice technology has to enter emerging markets.