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Language Technology News for 2011

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Future Apps launches iSpeak Translator for Mac computers
Future Apps, an iOS development company, has launched its second Mac application iSpeak Translator, which takes advantage of all the Mac Platform has to offer. The new iSpeak Translator application for the Mac uses the highest quality text to speech syntheses available to speak the translated phrase back to you in the target language. The company claims that their text to speech reproduces speech which is clear, and has a perfect accent in the target language. iSpeak Translator for the Mac includes five languages for the initial release, which include English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The application will be updated with many more languages in the very near future at no additional cost, the company said.
Kurzweil: Why IBM's Jeopardy Victory matters
In The Age of Intelligent Machines, which I wrote in the mid 1980s, I predicted that a computer would defeat the world chess champion by 1998. My estimate was based on the predictable exponential growth of computing power (an example of what I now call the "law of accelerating returns") and my estimate of what level of computing was needed to achieve a chess rating of just under 2800 (sufficient to defeat any human, although lately the best human chess scores have inched above 2800). I also predicted that when that happened we would either think better of computer intelligence, worse of human thinking, or worse of chess, and that if history was a guide, we would downgrade chess. Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997, and indeed we were immediately treated to rationalizations that chess was not really exemplary of human thinking after all. Commentaries pointed out that Deep Blue's feat just showed how computers were good at dealing with high- speed logical analysis and that chess was just a matter of dealing with the combinatorial explosion of move-countermoves. Humans, on the other hand, could deal with the subtleties and unpredictable complexities of human language.
Meet Watson: Behind the IBM Jeopardy! Challenge
You've likely seen at least one of the numerous promotions for the upcoming IBM Challenge; a Man vs. Machine showdown on the popular television quiz-game program, Jeopardy! The first ever non-human contestant of the show happens to be IBM's newest supercomputer, named "Watson" as an honor that credits the company's legacy to Thomas J. Watson and Thomas J. Watson Jr. There will be a three-episode showdown airing from February 14 through February 16, 2011 during which Watson will compete against former Jeopardy!'s top-two former contestants, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. The earnings from all contestants, Watson included, will be donated to various charities.
Sakhr introduces Johaina to monitor News written in Arabic language
Johaina is yet another milestone achieved by Sakhr Software, a news monitoring service that intelligently scans and identify their individual importance in Arabic language to deliver the content in English version for its users. You may be thinking what great does Johaina delivers that can really be useful to respective users. Johaina comes from a software company that has an integration of powerful Machine Translation Technology, Natural Language Processing and IDRISI an extensive search engine that has all the capabilities of categorizer, Summarizer and monitoring service.
Vlingo for BlackBerry Smartphones expands to Europe and adds Language Support for Spanish, German, French and Italian
Vlingo Corporation, the maker of the Vlingo Virtual Assistant that turns your words into actions, today announced it has met the demand of its users by adding French, German, Italian and Spanish language support for its Vlingo application for BlackBerry® smartphones. Users will now be able to speak to Vlingo in their native language on their BlackBerry smartphones.
Google Attempts Poetry Translation
Researchers at Google are tackling what they call one of the most difficult challenges in artificial intelligence. "AI Complete" "It's what we call AI complete," says Dmitriy Genzel, a research scientist at Google. "Which means it's as difficult as anything we can attempt in artificial intelligence."
OpenText awarded framework agreement for government digital data management
OpenText, the content management experts, have been awarded a framework agreement for Digital Continuity, developed by Buying Solutions and The National Archives as part of the governments project to improve digital information management throughout the public sector.Digital continuity is the ability to use your information in the way that you need, for as long as you need. Usable information is essential if the public sector is to operate transparently, legally and accountably. The Digital Continuity Framework is part of a broader Digital Continuity Service offered by The National Archives and provides a shortlist of suppliers which can be accessed by anyone in the public sector to help them manage their digital continuity. OpenText has been awarded a framework agreement for two Lots: digital archiving solutions and data quality solutions.
Vocollect acquired by Intermec for $190 million to better integrate voice into existing and new applications
Software developer Intermec has agreed to acquire voice recognition software provider Vocollect for US$190 million. The all-cash deal will see Vocollect's specialist products and community of more than 2,000 supply chain resellers assimilated into Intermec's portfolio. The deal is being seen as having the potential to help Intermec's 150 strong ISV partner community in better integrating voice into existing and new ADIC (automated identification and data capture) applications.
Linguamatics releases new 'cloud' version of I2E text mining platform
Linguamatics, a leading provider of NLP based text mining software, announced the launch of its new "cloud" (online) version of the award winning I2E text mining platform. I2E OnDemand offers smaller companies the advanced, high performance text mining capabilities that big pharma companies have been using for years.
GeoFluent Customized Translation Platform Unlocks the Knowledge of Global Enterprises with Real-Time Multilingual Communication
Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. today announced that three highly prominent and innovative technology companies have chosen to become beta customers for Lionbridge GeoFluent, an automated translation technology that instantly translates content and communications into multiple languages. A worldwide networking leader, the world leader in silicon innovation and a leader in security, storage and systems management are the first companies to join the beta program for Lionbridge's GeoFluent real time translation platform.
Qatar Foundation (QF) is hosting 20 renowned scientists to discuss the enhancement of Arabic NLP
Qatar Foundation (QF) is hosting 20 renowned scientists to discuss how its recently formed Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) can take a proactive role in enhancing Arabic natural-language processing technologies, a spokesperson said. Arabic has traditionally been an oral language which presents challenges in the application of language technologies. QCRI executive director Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid said: “The future of the Arabic language is digital and QCRI is seeking to leverage technologies to keep Arabic alive and well in the digital world.”
Twitter launched in Korean
Twitter usage has increased a lot in South Korea over the last year, and it may soon skyrocket. Late yesterday, Twitter announced that it has launched in Korean, giving South Korea's 48.5 million citizens the opportunity to access the service in their native language.
RightNow acquires Q-go to improve customer service with Natural Language Search
Natural language processing specialist Q-go was just acquired by RightNow Technologies for $34M. RightNow handles customer service for companies: It operates customer support centers and can handle every interaction with customers via company websites, email, mobile apps, support communities and social media. Q-go’s technology recognizes the meaning and intention of a question rather than just matching words.
Voice Recognition Market to grow 8.8% annually through 2015
According to a report by, voice recognition technologies are becoming integral parts of products and services that span a much broader array of industries. This global market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8% between 2010 and 2015. The total market is valued at an estimated $38.4 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach $58.4 in 2015.
Increasing demand for U.S. workers who speak foreign languages
Demand for U.S. workers who speak foreign languages—especially Spanish and Chinese—should continue to grow over the next decade, but very few workers plan to study them, according to a newly released study by the University of Phoenix Research Institute. The institute surveyed 511 workers and 419 employers last fall. Workers were asked what skills or degrees they already had or were planning to acquire; employers were asked what skills were in demand or would be in demand in 10 years.