How Artificial Intelligence Overcomes Language Barriers

By Arpita Dacy
How Artificial Intelligence Overcomes Language Barriers

There are more than 7,100 languages spoken around the world. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one possible common denominator. With AI, an organization can overcome barriers to doing business with audiences who speak different languages. We’re already seeing examples of AI’s ability to process multiple languages with the growth of smart voice assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri that are learning to accommodate multiple languages. Doing so requires a strong complement of people working behind the scenes to train machines to work smarter.

AI and Machine Learning Are Global

AI refers to computers performing complex tasks that were originally performed by humans with existing information. Machine learning is a form of AI in which computers are trained to make smarter decisions. The self-learning comes from reading vast amounts of data. With AI, businesses can perform functions ranging from financial forecasting to online sales faster and more accurately than ever before – so long as machines are trained properly to learn.

With AI, machines speak a universal language. Businesses in any geography can employ AI and machine learning regardless of the language spoken by their audiences. For example, search fueled by AI – whether through a search engine or a function on a website – can handle queries in multiple languages readily. AI makes it possible for a search tool to deliver smarter results by understanding the context of a query. If a person who typically uses English to search Google looks up the Indian term “amchur,” Google might deliver results, in English, with a definition of amchur powder as well as alternatives such as amchoor and aamchur based on Google anticipating that the searcher is probably looking for a form of the popular Indian powder. Then, if the same person does a query for “amchur near me,” the Google search engine can understand the context of the query to recommend actual stores close to the user where amchur can be purchased.  

Similarly, a customer service chatbot that has been properly trained with AI enablement services can accommodate customer service queries in multiple languages – as many languages as the bot needs to accommodate to support a business. 

Human Beings Do the Training

To overcome language barriers, though, AI systems need to be enabled with teams of human beings who can teach them to understand everything from multiple vocabularies to the contextual needs of an audience. At Pactera, we help businesses in multiple language markets embed AI into their operations. Through AI enablement, we provide human intelligence to prepare, label, and validate data for machine learning models at scale to support a multitude of functions with AI, such as call centers, help desks, personal assistants, employee training videos, application instruction videos, and AI customer service bots.

AI enablement requires that a team understand not just AI but the organization’s customers and needs, for example:  

  • Languages that your customers speak in target markets. 
  • What kind of outcomes you want, such as servicing a customer via a bot.

From there, our staff creates and/or trains the machine to do what you want it to do in order to meet your business needs. Doing so requires creating and testing prototypes, then real products, and then marketing and post-launch support services. In the example of a business providing a chatbot that supports multiple languages, our services would include training the bot to recognize patterns of speech and language in order to respond effectively both to text and voice queries.

With AI, an organization can overcome barriers to doing business with audiences who speak different languages.


  • When properly enabled for multiple languages, AI delivers rich benefits such as:
  • Make products accessible to people from all over the world.
  • Connect people globally due to its versatility with multiple languages.
  • Help businesses better understand the technological needs of people located in different locations and prioritize new projects accordingly.
  • Help with continuous improvement of the user experience by collecting feedback with minimum language limitations.
  • Help businesses keep historical data of different languages as they evolve with time and generations.

AI is evolving rapidly and still has a long way to go (the voice assistants I cited at the beginning of this post are just scratching the surface of how many languages they can support). What’s exciting about AI is that machines can respond to changes in language, including the advent of internet slang such as YOLO. A resource with a broad and diverse team of experts makes the difference in keeping AI up to date. At Pactera, we have more than 50,000 resources in more than 200 markets. Contact us today to make AI work for you in any language.