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Language Technology News for 2011

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The Rise of the Zuckerverb: The new Language of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg declared with wide-eyed optimism that Facebook was "helping to define a brand-new language for how people connect." "When we started," Zuckerberg explained, "the vocabulary was really limited. You could only express a small number of things, like who you were friends with. Then last year, when we introduced the Open Graph, we added nouns, so you could like anything that you wanted."
Speech and Language Information Processing Lab opens at state level in Hefei, Anhui province
The establishement of the Laboratory of Speech and Language Information Processing had been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner. The laboratory is the only state-level intelligent speech research institution in the country and the first national engineering lab in Hefei, capital city of Anhui province. Consisting of 11 major divisions each engaged in speech synthesis, recognition and so on, the laboratory aims to develop into a national strategic platform for the speech and language industry in the next few years and boost the country's independent innovation abilities of speech and language technology, with the help of its founders- the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and the USTC iFLYTEK Co.
Nuance's Dragon Go! now expands to Answers, Movies, Music and More
Nuance Communications, Inc. announced that its acclaimed Dragon Go! app for iPhone and iPod touch now features the ability to launch popular movie and TV streaming services; get direct access to more of the most popular names in mobile content, like Spotify; get answers to the toughest of questions from Wolfram|Alpha and; and, find friends on Google+. Since its release in July, Dragon Go! has continued to rapidly evolve and revolutionize the way consumers access and experience mobile content -- taking them directly to the mobile destinations they know and trust -- just by using their voice.
Lionbridge Technologies: Taking Part in Language Technnology Growth
Lionbridge Technologies is a language technology company that provides testing and developing of translation services for Fortune 100 companies. It is coming off of $17 million in restructuring charges since 2009, which have disrupted earnings and lowered the Street’s expectations. Clients like Apple, Disney and CBS downsizing call-centers into a single multilingual-capable facilities. Rising demand for multi-language translations of products and services by large businesses to generate revenues in non-English speaking markets.
English asserting itself as new generation's lingua franca in Europe
Pupils across the EU are overwhelmingly studying English as a second language, 82% of these at primary and lower-secondary level, and 95% at upper-secondary level, a Eurostat survey published (26 September) on the occasion of the tenth European Day of Languages. English overwhelmingly outpaces German and French, which are being learned at upper-secondary level respectively by 27% and 26% of students. This trend in education mirrors broader linguistic and cultural developments in Europe. A 2006 Eurobarometer poll found that the number of Europeans claiming to be able to have a conversation in English as a second language increased from 32% to 38% between 2001 and 2005, over twice the figure for French or German. The predominance of English was also strikingly apparent during last May's Eurovision song contest, where 22 of the event's 25 finalists chose to perform in English.
Indian Government launches Text To Speech & Indic OCR Systems
The Indian Government has launched Text-To- Speech system (TTS) computer software in six Indian languages namely: Hindi, Marathi, Bangla, Telugu, Tamil & Malayalam, and web based Optical Character Recognition systems (OCR) for Hindi (Devanagri) & Punjabi (Gurumukhi). Text-to-Speech converts computerized text into human voice, allowing people with visual impairments to listen to written works on a computer or a mobile device. TTS and OCRA have been developed under a consortium project by Technology Development for Indian Language (TDIL), a program under the Department of Information Technology.
SAIC to take on with Google Speech Translation Apps
Using a hybrid of statistical analysis and rule-based techniques, SAIC says it can produce more accurate English, Spanish, and Arabic translations, on the fly. Even on an iPhone. Best known as a defense and government contractor, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is venturing into offering commercial and consumer applications of its machine translation technology.
Nice Systems to buy Fizzback for $80M
Israel-based customer relations, risk management software provider to acquire UK-based provider of software for real-time customer feedback; deal to become earnings accretive within four quarters. In 2012 the acquisition is expected to add $20 million to Nice's revenue and to be slightly dilutive to earnings but will become accretive to adjusted EPS within four quarters of completing the deal, the company said. Fizzback sends consumers requests for feedback relating to a specific transaction via mobile, web or social media. The feedback is analysed by the system to determine a response and automatically conduct a dialogue with the consumer in natural language rather than in survey format
Pingar Research to invest in solving transformation of Unstructured Data for Enterprises
Pingar announced increased investment in research and development to accelerate innovation in transforming unstructured data into business intelligence, addressing a significant and growing business issue and providing competitive advantage to major enterprises worldwide.
Lexxe to launch Beta of Search Engine for NLP queries
Lexxe, a Sydney-based technology company, announced that it will launch the Beta version of its Internet search engine, which is special in that it uses natural language processing for queries, unlike its competitors
Facebook's changes - It's all about the platform
After Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote at Facebook’s f8 today in San Francisco, he emerged from backstage and ran into’s Marc Benioff, who had come to the event out of sheer curiosity. “The best strategy ever from a technology company,” Benioff said to Zuckerberg, and even the Facebook CEO was wowed by the statement. This is Facebook’s fourth so-called “f8″ event—its signature gathering for developers, the press, and its growing public. f8 is primarily a developer event, devoted to updating and explaining Facebook’s “platform.” The platform is the core of Facebook, and the thing CEO Mark Zuckerberg cares about most. Now the platform will give application developers far more capabilities to build rich applications that people really want to use. That’s big.
Google Head of Research: Why AI is crucial to Google's Future
Google's head of research explains why artificial intelligence is crucial to the search company's future. We work on things that benefit Google and its users, but we have a longer time horizon and we try to advance the state of the art. That means areas like natural language processing [understanding human language], machine learning, speech recognition, translation, and image recognition. These are mostly problems that have traditionally been called artificial intelligence.
Google Plus: Invitation to be Friends
Anyone can now sign up for Google Plus, which has new features including mobile video "hangouts." After 12 weeks of socializing in select circles, Google has announced that anyone can sign up for its fledgling social network, Google Plus. The wider adoption of the service now that it's widely available will be crucial to the success of Google Plus, and to Google's ability to compete with Facebook as a force in social networking and in selling more targeted ads. Google's social network was launched in June to positive reviews and considerable interest, but activity has slowed in recent weeks.
Research & Innovation: Commission calls for partnerships to tackle societal challenges
An invitation to public and private actors to join forces at European level to apply research and innovation solutions to major challenges facing society has been issued by the European Commission. The Commission Communication draws on first experience from pilot projects and outlines steps that will lead to more, and more effective, public-private and public-public partnerships. The Commission Communication suggests that when EU-level Partnerships are identified as necessary and useful, there is a need to make administrative arrangements simpler and more flexible. Bottlenecks and barriers to cross-border research need to be removed, and all partners, including EU Member States and the private sector, need to make long-term financial commitments to the projects.
The British Museum to publish its collection semantically
The British Museum has now released a Semantic Web version of the database complementing the Collection Online search facility. The Museum is the first UK arts organisation to instigate a Semantic Web version of its collection data. The new service brings the British Museum into the ‘linked data’ world and will allow software developers to produce their own applications that can directly manipulate and reuse the data. It will also allow researchers and scholars a way to search and find data more precisely and facilitate automatic updates.