The South African human language technology audit

05 November 2012

Human language technology (HLT) has been identified as a priority area by the South African government. However, despite efforts by government and the research and development (R&D) community, South Africa has not yet been able to maximise the opportunities of HLT and create a thriving HLT industry. One of the key challenges is the fact that there is insufficient codified knowledge about the current South African HLT components, their attributes and existing relationships. Hence a technology audit was conducted for the South African HLT landscape, to create a systematic and detailed inventory of the status of the HLT components across the eleven official languages. Based on the Basic Language Resource Kit (BLaRK) framework Krauwer (ELRA Newslett 3(2), 1998), we used various data collection methods (such as focus groups, questionnaires and personal consultations with HLT experts) to gather detailed information. The South African HLT landscape is analysed using a number of complementary approaches and based on the interpretations of the results, recommendations are made on how to accelerate HLT development in South Africa, as well as on how to conduct similar audits in other countries and contexts.