Universiteit Leiden

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English and Tigrinya machine translation

  • Elissa Glorie (Travis Foundation)
Friday 5 April 2019
This Time for Africa!
P.N. van Eyckhof 4
P.N. van Eyckhof 4
2311 BV Leiden


Travis Foundation bridges language barriers where it’s needed most. By compiling digital corpora, applying machine learning technology and collaborating on communication tools, they help refugees, migrants and people in need communicate.

Travis Foundation is creating an English and Tigrinya machine translation. Tigrinya is the language of Eritrea and also spoken in Northern Ethiopia. With half a million Eritrean refugees in Europe, organisations and individuals frequently experience language barriers and challenges communicating. Travis Foundation gathered the data required for machine translation through crowdsourcing and gamification and are in the process of training a NMT model. The next step they’ll take is adding speech recognition and speech output, enabling a speech-speech translation. They look forward to sharing more on their experience digitising Tigrinya and how they can use their learnings to develop other languages in the future.

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