Organisations promoting the Welsh lagnauge have joined together for a challenge over the holidays – contribute 50 hours of voices on Common Voice Cymraeg to develop the Welsh language in smart technology.
Staff and members from the Urdd, the Welsh Language Commissioner, the National Eisteddfod, the National Center for Learning Welsh, Nant Gwrtheyrn, Young Farmers Clubs Wales, Mudiad Meithrin, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, S4C, Welsh Government and the Mentrau Iaith will all contribute by recording or verifying at least 5 clips on the Common Voice Cymraeg website as part of the ‘Defnyddia Dy Lais’ (use your voice) challenge.
One of the contributors is Nia ap Tegwyn, Menter Gorllewin Sir Gâr’s Senior Language Officer. She says;
“As individuals who promote the use of the Welsh language it is important and a privilege to contribute to Common Voice, leading by example to ensure that devices can understand and communicate in Welsh in the future.”
To achieve this goal the organisations are asking the people of Wales, of all ages, to take part in the challenge by recording or verifying Welsh voices.
Canolfan Bedwyr – Bangor University’s Language Technologies Unit, Meddal.com and Mozilla intend to use these voices to create a free database that will enable smart technology companies to introduce the Welsh language to their devices. As well as assisting automatic captioning in Welsh, the database will enable further development in voice recognition technologies, such as the Macsen app, to understand and respond to more questions in Welsh.
Ap Macsen is a Welsh language personal assistant app created by Canolfan Bedwyr, Bangor University’s Language Technologies Unit. The app is currently able to report news, weather, play Welsh music and more on demand – all thanks to the Common Voice scheme.
Rhoslyn Prys of meddal.com says;
“This year it has become clear how reliant on technology we all are, with smart technologies quickly becoming a practical part of many of our lives. This is an opportunity for all of us as Welsh speakers to ensure that the Welsh language continues to have a place in the world of tech. By doing one small thing together, we can make a big difference for future Welsh speech recognition technologies.”