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Boeing gives wings to UQ language tech

Indigenous Languages, Technology, University of Queensland

Date: 14 June 2019

Boeing software engineers are applying their skills in the community to improve software that people can use to transcribe languages, amplifying the effort that language workers put into teaching and learning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Boeing's support is part of the Indigenous Language Technology program at the Centre’s University of Queensland node, which includes Indigenous language robots. The program aims to design and build technologies that assist in documenting language, and to help people to learn their languages.

Ben Foley, Manager of the Transcription Acceleration Project at CoEDL, said that the new collaboration will open up new ways of doing transcription work, and new ways of using modern transcription techniques.

“Boeing engineers' industry-honed software analysis skills, combined with the knowledge of software engineers within CoEDL, will guide us in determining the potential use of the Elpis speech recognition technology on mobile devices,” Ben said.

The collaboration is a key initiative in Boeing’s Reconciliation Action Plan to provide direct and positive outcomes to Indigenous communities across the country.

"As well as donating tablets and computers, we are supporting UQ to bring 12 Indigenous language robots to a production-ready state through 2019," said Boeing’s Project Manager, Simon Ruttley.

Seven Boeing employees are providing software engineering and project management experience to UQ researchers to improve efficiencies and usability of the speech recognition tool used to transcribe the languages.


(Main image: UQ and Boeing staff discuss approaches to analysing the software dependencies of the Elpis speech recognition project. Photo by Mick Richards)

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