Track: Professional | C4 |   Everyone | MICRO TALK |
Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 5:45am – 6:30am
Held in: Jujama
Anuoluwapo Aremu - Masakhane 
Luca De Biase - Imminent, Translated’s Research Center 
Lucie Séguin - Government of Canada, Translation Bureau 
Kathleen Siminyu - Mozilla Foundation 
Kirti Vashee - Translated

This session will offer several quick and dynamic presentations covering topics and ideas too interesting to ignore:

Localizing Conversational AI in African Languages for Emerging Markets – Anuoluwapo Aremu (Masakhane)
With threads of development in the digitization of African languages since the last decade, waves of successes have been recorded in machine translation, model architecture, named entity recognition, and automated speech recognition as they have also begun to add value to the African market. As startups and ventures continue raising series of funds on the continent, the user base of the solutions provided by these ventures has also grown over the years. Localizing conversations through virtual assistants in African languages will optimize sales and give engagement to language marginalized customers.
Takeaways: An exposure on how conversational AI can advance localization in African languages and how experts in products could use that to optimize their market.

The Skill Set of the Future: Fostering the Next Generation of Language Professionals in Canada – Lucie Séguin (Government of Canada, Translation Bureau)
The paucity of entrants in the language professions is a well-known issue that universities and the industry have been tackling for decades. Yet with technology remodeling the landscape of the linguistic services marketplace, that issue is now being compounded by a redefinition of the skill set required to be an effective language professional. What skills should the language professionals of tomorrow possess, and how are those skills best nurtured? In this session, we will showcase the initiatives and partnerships put forward by the Government of Canada’s Translation Bureau to foster and support the next generation of Canadian language professionals.
Takeaways: Attendees will get an overview of the dynamics of Canada’s language industry; an understanding of the skill requirements agreed upon by the Canadian language industry; and a showcase of collaborative initiatives that have been proven effective in supporting the training of new language professionals.

A Decision-making Support Tool for Investing in African Languages – Luca De Biase (Imminent)
To increase exports, companies must win the trust of their potential customers. To accomplish this, they must demonstrate they can listen to customers and express their offerings in a language that the customers can understand well. How much should companies rationally decide to invest in translation services? The T-index is an evolving, customizable indicator that allows companies to calculate the value of their investment in translation. The T-Index works by considering a set of indicators such as the number of internet users existing in different countries, the languages spoken, the purchasing power of people, and their growing or shrinking importance of languages in perspective.
Takeaways: How does a company decide how much to invest in localizing its online services into African languages? How does a company choose into which African languages to translate its business documents, user manuals and corporate presentations? A standard indicator does not exist. But a new quantitative experimental tool can be a starting point.

Best Practices of Global Companies in Localizing Their Services for African Markets – Kirti Vashee (Translated)
How should companies with a global strategy understand and respect the African wealth of cultural diversity? Are there global companies to learn from on how to deal with the different peoples living in African countries? How are companies with a leading global strategy choosing what languages they should use when localizing their services for different African countries? In this session, we analyze choices made by localization managers of leading global companies.
Takeaways: Many African countries are home to different people speaking different languages. Attendees will learn how to choose the right ones to invest in.

Multidisciplinary Collaboration for Language Dataset Development: A Case Study for Kiswahili Speech Recognition – Kathleen Siminyu (Mozilla Foundation)
Language technologies, particularly speech technologies, are becoming more pervasive for access to digital platforms and resources. This brings concerns of their inclusivity in terms of language diversity. Additionally, research shows speech recognition to be more accurate for men than for women and more accurate for individuals younger than 30 years of age. In the Global South where languages are low resource, these same issues should be taken into consideration in data collection efforts to not replicate these mistakes. It is also important to note that in varying contexts within the Global South, this work presents additional nuance and potential for bias based on accents, related dialects, and variants of a language. This session is about the designing and execution of a linguists engagement for purposes of building an inclusive Kiswahili speech recognition dataset representative of the diversity among speakers of the language; the unexpected yet key learning in terms of sociolinguistics which demonstrate the importance of multidisciplinary in teams developing datasets and natural language processing technologies; and the creation of a test dataset intended to be used for evaluating the performance of speech recognition models on demographic groups that are likely to be underrepresented.
Takeaways: Attendees will learn about the model/methodology for collaboration between computer scientists and linguists for dataset creation; sociolinguistics factors to consider when building speech technology for Kiswahili speakers; and how to preemptively design datasets to mitigate demographic bias.