Do you dream of speaking Italian, Spanish, German or Portuguese? If studying a new language requires several years of learning, new artificial intelligence (AI) now allows you to achieve this feat in just a few seconds. Behind this feat is the start-up HeyGen, designed by two former TikTok employees and launched in July 2022.
Initially, the platform allowed you to generate videos with a 3D avatar which dictated the text you had chosen. It has now taken a new step by adding automatic translation to videos uploaded by users. The principle is child's play: you just need to import a video lasting between 30 seconds and 5 minutes onto the platform, choose a language between English, American, Spanish, Hindi, Italian, German, Polish, Portuguese and French, and that's it. HeyGen takes care of translating your text and making you pronounce it in the chosen language, while adapting the movements of your mouth. You become bilingual in a few seconds.
Numerous videos illustrate the prowess of this tool on social networks. We can thus see the Argentine footballer Lionel Messi speaking in perfect English, “which was surprising since he is known to only know how to speak one language: Spanish”, underlines an Internet user. Another example with a video of General De Gaulle, who switches from Italian to Hindi to Portuguese, with disconcerting realism. “Bluffing”, shares the teacher and columnist Tristan Mendès France on However, it is possible to try it for free.
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Although these videos make you smile at first glance, they nevertheless raise several ethical problems. The first concerns disinformation, especially among young people, with the possibility of distorting the truth. With the functionality of creating an avatar, it is possible to make anyone say anything and thus spark heated controversy.
Some professionals are also concerned about the impact of tools like this on their future. This is the case for dubbers in the film industry. In Hollywood, many of them have decided to strike to denounce the use of AI in the film industry. This summer, around twenty North American, South American and European unions also created the United Voices Organization (UVO) with a single slogan: “don’t steal our votes”. They now hope for legislation to be put in place to regulate AI and continue their creative work.