Whether you want to join the trend toward companies and organisations embracing te reo Māori, or just want to learn your own country’s language, there’s some smart software to help you along.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) is a good time to take another look at Spark’s nifty Kupu smartphone app (available from Apple Appstore and Google Play).

Developed in conjunction with AUT and Te Aka Māori Dictionary, Kupu uses Google machine learning and your phone’s camera – so you can take a photo of common object, then have the app tell you the word for it in Te Reo, along with an audio clip to help your pronunciation. It’s an impressive bit of tech, and useful for expanding your vocab.

Spark says Kupu has been downloaded 177,000 thousand times since its 2018 launch, with 2.7m images translated and 5m word pronunciations played.

A just-released upgrade, Kupu 2, includes optional push notifications to prompt you to learn new words through the day.

Google’s AI (artificial intelligence) smarts are also on-show with its own translate.google.com service, which has offered Te Reo since 2013.

Install Google Translate as an app for your smartphone, and you can use its camera to translate Te Reo text (or words from any one of 100 other languages)

Using Spark's Kupu app to take a smartphone photo of an object, then get a translation.
Using Spark’s Kupu app to take a smartphone photo of an object, then get a translation.


Then there’s Reobot, which was launched in April last year, harnessing AI to get more people practising everyday conversations in Te Reo. Co-founders Jason Lovell and Jonnie Cain built Reobot to run on Facebook Messenger, and there are now several thousand people using it.

By typing ‘Reobot’ into your Facebook Messenger pop-up, Reobot will start a conversation where it poses questions and answers in Te Reo and English side-by-side. And there you have it, an easy way to learn common Māori phrases and implement them in everyday life.

Source: NZ Herald


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