French is the official language of France and it is also spoken in Monaco, Luxembourg, some parts of Belgium and Switzerland, in the Canadian province of Québec, parts of North and Central Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Madagascar and the French Overseas Departments and Territories.
Over 200 million people speak French as either a first or second language. French is an Indo-European language and part of the Romance family, along with Spanish and Italian.
French is written using the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, plus the letters with diacritics: é (acute accent) è à ù (grave accent), ç (cedilla), â ê î ô û (circumflex), ë ï ü (diaeresis). French words are notorious for being pronounced and spelled differently. This is because of the large number of silent letters.
Japan may not be the best in the world when it comes to speaking English, but it remains a pioneer in developing cutting-edge translation technology.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaching, the nation is once again plotting to surprise the world, this time with high-quality, real-time machine translation systems.
Public and private institutions are working eagerly to develop and upgrade the technology so it can easily be used by tourists, whose numbers are growing sharply
There is nothing especially novel about machine translation, a technology that reaches back to 1951, when a team from IBM and Georgetown University first demonstrated a computer’s ability to translate short phrases from English into Russian. In 63 years, the machines involved in machine translation have evolved. What a warehouse-sized computer could do in 1951, a laptop can do even better today.