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Language

Research from NTNU is attempting to recognize human speech more accurately by detecting ho...

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are combining two of the best-known approaches to automatic speech recognition to build a better and language-independent speech-to-text algorithm that can recognize the language being spoken in under a minute, transcribe languages on the brink of extinction, and make the dream of ever present voice-controlled electronics just a little bit closer.  Read More

British computer programmer Will Powell has created a prototype real-time translation syst...

Inspired by the Google's Project Glass, computer programmer Will Powell has built a prototype real-time translation system that listens to speech, translates it into one of 37 languages, and then displays the resulting text as subtitles directly onto the user's glasses.  Read More

Norwegian researchers have devised a new way of creating a child-like synthetic voice for ...

You may think that Stephen Hawking’s synthesized voice sounds a little ... unusual, but imagine how much weirder it would be to witness a child using that same adult voice to communicate. For many children who are unable to speak, however, they have no choice but to use assistive devices that utilize just such a voice. Now, help may be on the way. Norwegian researchers have developed a new method of creating synthetic speech, that actually sounds like it is being spoken by a child. Such technology could also allow computers to better recognize words spoken to them by young users.  Read More

Newcastle's Professor Paul Seedhouse, one of the two leaders of the French Digital Kitchen...

People learning a new language almost always have the same complaint – you may temporarily memorize words that you learn in a classroom, but you soon forget those words unless you actually have to use the language. Some educators have addressed this problem through Task-Based Language Learning, in which students have to complete a task using instructions provided in a foreign language. Researchers at Britain’s Newcastle University have recently put a high-tech spin on this approach – they’ve created an interactive kitchen that keeps track of what its users are doing, as it uses the French language to guide them in preparing French cuisine.  Read More

Newly-developed software has been shown to pick out deceptive online reviews with almost 9...

One of the great things about the internet is the fact that everyday people can share what they know with the entire world, so if they’ve had a particularly good or bad experience with a business or product, they can notify everyone via customer review websites. The flip-side of that, however, is that business owners can plant fake reviews on those same sites, that either praise their own business or slam their competition. Well, confused consumers can now take heart – researchers from Cornell University have developed software that is able to identify phony reviews with close to 90 percent accuracy.  Read More

Screen shot of Sid Meier's strategy computer game, Civilization II

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab have been able to create computers that learn language by doing something that many people consider a last resort when tackling an unfamiliar task - reading the manual (or RTBM). Beginning with virtually no prior knowledge, one machine-learning system was able to infer the meanings of words by reviewing instructions posted on Microsoft's website detailing how to install a piece of software on a Windows PC, while another was able to learn how to play Sid Meier's empire-building Civilization II strategy computer game by reading the gameplay manual.  Read More

90 years in the making - the now completed Chicago Assyrian Dictionary

If you come across a word or phrase in another language, a printed or online dictionary is usually a good place to look for help. If you're faced with a language that's long been dead, however, then you've got problems. Those studying the cuneiform texts of Mesopotamian clay tablets or stone carvings now have reason to rejoice. After nine decades, the University of Chicago's Assyrian Dictionary Project has finally been completed - opening an encyclopedic window into the day to day lives of people from one of the world's first civilizations.  Read More

Phrazer is a handheld medical communicator that identifies a patient's native language and...

With over 170 languages spoken in the U.S. alone, medical personnel attending an emergency or working in a busy hospital are no doubt often faced with communication problems when trying to dispense treatment. The Phrazer offers a possible solution to this problem. It is billed as the world's first multilingual communication system, where patients provide medical background information, symptoms or complaints with the help of a virtual onscreen doctor speaking in their own native tongue. This information is then summarized into a medical record compatible with all major EMR systems.  Read More

MIT researchers say that a word's length is a reflection not of its frequency, but of the ...

The idea that the length of a word is a reflection of the frequency with which it is used in order to make language more efficient is a theory that has held sway for decades. With “the”, “of” and “and” the three most commonly used words in the American English vocabulary according to the Brown Corpus, the theory seems to make sense. And just consider how long it would take to get out a sentence if “the” were as long as the name of an Icelandic volcano. Now a team of MIT cognitive scientists has used Google data to develop an alternative theory that a word’s length actually reflects the amount of information it contains.  Read More

Infographic courtesy of Nextweb

In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English. Times change though, and the United States’ military’s gift to civilization knows no national boundaries, and growing worldwide adoption of the Internet has changed the audience make-up to such an extent that the dominant language of the internet is about to become Chinese. That’s not to say the Chinese are all that comfortable with this either. There has just been an official decree requiring the use of Chinese translations for all English words and phrases in newspapers, magazines and web sites. While all countries have watched the unregulated global nature of the internet erode traditional cultural values and the integrity of national languages, it seems the Chinese powers-that-be have concluded that the purity of the Chinese language needs to be preserved.  Read More

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