Maluuba is a company that has created a patent-pending, voice recognition and language engine. According to Crunchbase, Samsung Ventures funded $2 million to Maluuba in February 2012, and the Maluuba language engine "is a product of two years of advanced research in artificial intelligence, machine learning and linguistics." Yesterday, Maluuba announced the introduction of a preview alpha release of what the company describes as the "first of its kind" natural language understanding API (nAPI).
Let's talk languages: in this case, not computer programming languages, but human languages. According to the 2009 edition of the SIL International publication Ethnologue: Languages of the World, the estimated 328 million English speakers in the world are dwarfed by the 1.2 billion people who speak Chinese as a first language. And though English has become the lingua franca of many tech industries, users still prefer to interact with products and services in their native tongue. No doubt this was one of the factors which led FlightStats, Portland-based provider of global flight tracking and airport information, to start offering its FlightStats API data in languages other than English.
Less than two months ago, Merriam-Webster announced that some of its references would be available via an API. Now, competitor Cambridge University Press has followed suit with the Cambridge Dictionaries Online API. Currently, Cambridge offers five dictionaries through an API (i.e. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Cambridge Business English Dictionary, Cambridge Learner's English-Turkish Dictionary, and Cambridge Leaner's Dictionary).