Understanding Speakers of 7,000 Languages

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Harding (Marriott Wardman Park)
This symposium covers approaches to understand and support speakers of all 7,000 of the world’s languages, with a particular emphasis on technology to support under-resourced languages through diverse approaches. Technology can be used to understand the linguistic structures of languages, translate information between languages, ensure community participation and ownership of their digital language resources, and deploy those resources for global development. Currently, more people across the world have access to cellphones than to fresh drinking water. In a few more years, more people will have access to smartphones than to fresh drinking water. With smartphones, people gain language technologies like Siri on their own devices and can use internet-enabled language technologies like search engines, telemedicine, and access to information about markets. However, 95% of language technology resources have gone into English and a handful of other dominant languages. On any given day, only 5% of the world’s conversations are in English. As more of the world comes online, a race is taking place to ensure participation – both to understand the full diversity of the connected world, and to support the languages and individuals speaking those languages.
Robert Munro, Idibon
Robert Munro, Idibon
Chris Callison-Burch, University of Pennsylvania
Crowdsourcing for Human and Machine Translation
Steven Bird, University of Melbourne and UC Berkeley
Deciphering the World's Unwritten Languages
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