Text-to-speech technology offers youngster a suitable voice
In May this year, Carte Blanche aired a programme on text-to-speech (TTS) technology and voice banking which featured an insert on Alexander Avenant, a learner at New Hope School in Pretoria. Alexander, at that stage, used the CSIR's Qfrency adult male Afrikaans TTS voice with augmentative and alternative communication software, because that was all that was available at that stage. In the interview with Carte Blanche, Alexander mentions that he does not like the fact that the voice sounds like an "Oom", and not like himself – a boy.
Over the course of September and October, SADiLaR’s technical manager, Dr Roald Eiselen, visited with various European centres that form part of the Common Language Resource Infrastructure (CLARIN). The aim of the visits was to establish connections that will lead to future cooperation and collaboration with entities performing activities similar to those of SADiLaR. The visits provided useful insights on the various technologies and resources available from CLARIN, and it is clear that the implementation and reuse of technical infrastructures from these institutions will significantly reduce the cost and time required to further our objectives.
Language forms the heart and soul of communication, traditions, social integration, and education. Language also plays a vital role in representing various cultures and traditions, as well as capturing the history of a community. There are more than 6000 languages spoken in the world but, at this very moment, many of these languages are disappearing – partly due to the lack of a digital footprint, language resources, and a lack of data captured for the development of these languages.
The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources is excited to announce that a call for proposals has been launched and submissions opened on 31 January 2018. This is an opportunity to participate in the development infrastructure and play a significant role in the development of language resources and technologies for the South African languages.
The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) has been established to foster digital research and development growth in the official languages of South Africa SADiLaR forms part of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) new South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), for the large scale development of research capacity in South Africa.
SADiLaR launches a new website and data repository
SADiLaR is excited to announce the launch of our website, which sets the foundation for us in our expanding role as African leader in the digital humanities (DH) and natural language processing (NLP) domains.
Integrating the RMA into SADiLaR with new technologies
Over the past five years the Language Resource Management Agency (RMA) has been the central repository for the distribution and management of language resources, data and software tools, for the official languages of South Africa. The RMA has provided an excellent foundation for SADiLaR to build on.
Nodes @ SADiLaR: CSIR Meraka Institute (HLT Research Group)
The CSIR Meraka Institute focuses on shaping South Africa’s digital future and is known for the research, development and innovation in the information and communication technology sector. Within the Institute, the Human Language Technology (HLT) Research Group focuses on solving communication challenges that South Africa face as a result of the lack of language resources and data.
Nodes @ SADiLaR: University of South Africa (UNISA): Department of African Languages
The Department of African Languages at UNISA is committed to the promotion, development and use of the South African languages. The Department conducts research that contributes to the advancement of knowledge of African languages, promotes scholarship in African languages and serves as a partner by reaching out to the community through its expertise in African languages.