Speech and Language Technology on a shoestring

topics covered at igaidhlig.net I was just introduced to a great collection of resources at http://www.igaidhlig.net/en/ that “might well be of interest to other SMLs (small to medium languages) who are wondering about how to get into localization and Speech and Language Technology. ”

iGàidhlig aims to do the following:

  • create software tools for Gaelic, usually in co-operation with other groups or projects
  • translate existing software tools into Gaelic
  • disseminate information about these resources and support people who want to use them
  • push developers and manufacturers to solve technical issues affecting the use of Gaelic (and languages in a similar situation

Primarily digital2031 was set up because thousands of languages are “in a similar situation” of being underused and overlooked on the internet. For some people those languages are an important part of their past and for some they are also very much part of the present and future – languages that speak to their heads and hearts, and languages that are ready to take their place in the digital age.

In a paper that is well worth the read, Michael Bauer explains

“Small languages often struggle to gain a foothold in Speech and Language Technology.

Efforts in this area often end up in disjointed, isolated and uncoordinated projects, in turn resulting in wasted resources and slow progress. Yet with technology increasingly permeating our lives, the need to plant a linguistic flag in cyberspace becomes more important for small and medium languages every year as there is at least some evidence to support the intuitive notion that the metalanguage of technology impacts our wider patterns of language use.

Coupled with these more subtle effects are the more practical issues of how to interface with technology if the technology does not support your language readily – such as predictive texting, auto-correction and voice recognition. ”

I’d be interested in what others think of Bauer’s work and comments.

Read the full paper at http://www.akerbeltz.org/iGaidhlig/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SALT-on-a-Shoestring.pdf

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