The Nós Project: Opening routes for the Galician language in the field of language technologies
The development of language technologies (LTs) such as machine translation, text analytics, and dialogue systems is essential in the current digital society, culture and economy. These LTs, widely supported in languages in high demand worldwide, such as English, are also necessary for smaller and less economically powerful languages, as they are a driving force in the democratization of the communities that use them due to their great social and cultural impact. As an example, dialogue systems allow us to communicate with machines in our own language; machine translation increases access to contents in different languages, thus facilitating intercultural relations; and text-to-speech and speech-to-text systems broaden different categories of users’ access to technology. In the case of Galician (co-official language, together with Spanish, in the autonomous region of Galicia, located in northwestern Spain), incorporating the language into state-of-the-art AI applications can not only significantly favor its prestige (a decisive factor in language normalization), but also guarantee citizens’ language rights, reduce social inequality, and narrow the digital divide. This is the main motivation behind the Nós Project (Proxecto Nós), which aims to have a significant contribution to the development of LTs in Galician (currently considered a low-resource language) by providing openly licensed resources, tools, and demonstrators in the area of intelligent technologies.
keywords: Language technologies, Galician, linguistic rights, low-resource languages