Duolingo lays off 10% of contract translators as firm relies more on AI: Report

Business |  IANS  | Published :

San Francisco, Jan 9 (IANS) US-based language learning app Duolingo has laid off 10 per cent of its contract translators as the company relies more on generative artificial intelligence (AI) to develop its content, the media reported.

Duolingo stated that in some cases, the contractor's work has been completed, while in others, the work is being aided by AI, reports Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"There is some merit to the idea that AI is contributing to the reduction of our contract workforce, but it would be an oversimplification to say this is the sole reason. We use AI for a variety of different functions and tasks," Sam Dalsimer, Duolingo’s global head of communications, was quoted as saying.

Dalsimer mentioned that contract and staff employees are still closely involved in reviewing AI outputs for accuracy.

These tasks include generating sentences and acceptable translations. In addition, he stated that the company tried to find alternate roles for the contractors affected by the changes.

Moreover, the report noted that Duolingo was planning to hire two new AI positions -- one to help personalise the tool, and another to refine its speech.

According to Dalsimer, AI was not intended to replace jobs. Instead, it would save translators time and allow them to concentrate on more difficult tasks.

In December last year, Duolingo revealed that more than 23 billion lessons were completed on the app in 2023, and over 8.4 million learners are actively studying 'Hindi' on the app.

In its Language Report 2023, Duolingo mentioned nearly one and a half billion hours were spent learning on the app, and more than 32 million people worldwide studied more than one language this year.

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