ELL: what is ELRA?

Jeff ALLEN jeff at elda.fr
Fri Mar 19 14:58:16 UTC 1999

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  Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:58:16 +0100
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  From: Jeff ALLEN <jeff at elda.fr>
  Subject: ELL: what is ELRA?
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  Jeff Allen wrote:
  >> then I will need to manually go through and
  >>extract addresses and organization names from those files.
  >>This will take some time and will certainly cannot be done in the
  >>immediate.  However, it is a trivial task that can be done while watching
  >>a TV show during my free time on the weekend.

  At 12:20 19/03/99 +0100, Marion Gunn wrote:
  >Please don't go to any extra bother, Jeff -- I SHOULD have said that my
  >most immediate interest is in linguistic community support structures
  >within the EU. I thought ELRA might have the makings of a database for

  Not really.  I should probably briefly indicate what ELRA is involved in.
  Let me grab a short statement out of one of my brochures.

  "The European Language Resources Association (ELRA) was
  founded in Luxembourg in February 1995 with the goal of promoting
  the creation, validation and distribution of language resources (LRs)
  in Europe and to contribute to the development of the emerging
  market of language engineering. The tasks for the association are
  to identify and collect existing resources and to spread this
  information to potential users in Europe and beyond, using
  different media. These include quarterly newsletters focusing
  on Language Engineering, a catalogue of language resources
  that is updated regularly, a Web site, announcements on various
  electronic lists, etc. As of January 1999, the ELRA catalogue
  lists 92 speech resources, 47 monolingual lexicons, 105
  multilingual lexica, 19 written corpora and more than 270
  terminological databases. In the speech area, many databases
  are available for machine dictation, telephone-based
  applications, speaker identification and verification applications,
  as well as several phonetic lexica, for languages such as
  English, German, Swiss-French, Danish, French and Italian,
  Chilean Spanish, Russian and Mandarin Chinese, etc.
  Other language recording projects in progress include
  SpeechDatEast and Speech Across Latin America (SALA).
  However, many resources need to be identified and/or
  produced. "

Our primary audience includes universities and companies
that develop technologies for the automatic processing
of languages.
My interest in minority et al. languages stems from
having done my master's and doctoral degrees on French
Creole languages.

The growing interest in minority language engineering might
now pave the way for the development of distributable
databases for such languages.   They need to be produced
and then ELRA work on obtaining distribution rights
for them.

>The question may even be simply one of filtering the information available.
>For example, see the large and very tempting range of EU-funded projects
>displayed on URLs such as
><http://www.linglink.lu/hlt/events/concertation/clusters.asp>), but it is
>not easy to find which old/new/contemplated projects are likely to have any
>relevance at all to minority or Regional (there's another acceptable term
>for you!) Languages.

Yes, the Human Language Technologies (HLT) 5th Framework Programme
just kicked off today.  The call for HLT proposals is now
underway.   I heard that the announcement is out but have been too
busy with collecting all of the submissions that are coming in for
today's deadline for ELRA proposals to take a look at it.
Hmm, I was at an HLT meeting a couple of months ago. On the
www.lingualink.lu  web site, search on Multilinguality and Natural
Interactivity.   These were the 2 main terms that we were told to
look for.   That web site is so slow to load and search on that I
unfortunately do not go to it that often.   Also try searching
on Multimedia, Language Resources and Language Databases.
These would be relevant terms.

>It used to be easier. Until a few years ago, one could, conceivably,
>consult EU office(r)s directly for good advice on advancing one's language,
>without going through a third party.

Yes, I know.  Everyone is swamped with work these days. I also
have difficulty obtaining information from time to time.

>Now it seems (perhaps this is not
>really so, but just seems so!) that the peoples of smaller linguistic
>communities are now being 'encouraged' to go, instead, to paid consultants
>(which is too expensive) or to charity organizations (which is too

Up till now the consultants were way too expensive for the
Human Language technologies field.  That announcement by
Transparent Inc that I put on the list a couple of weeks ago is
Transparent's active reaction to a panel discussion about
developing machine translation technologies for "neglected
languages" at the October 98 conference of the Association for
Machine Translation in the Americas.  It was a very interesting
panel discussion, but all of the commercial MT developers
said that it is simply too expensive.  Then Transparent announced
their Minority languages project in March 99.  This seems to
have changed the way things were going.  It might open up
for competitive pricing for this kind of language technology development
for minority languages.

>That is what prompted my request -- I feel a list of EU, state, semi-state,
>official bodies which deal directly with people in our position would help.

I unfortunately do not have such a list.  My contacts are companies
and university research centers.


Jeff ALLEN - Directeur Technique
European Language Resources Association (ELRA)  &
European Language resources Distribution Agency (ELDA)
(Agence Europ.enne de Distribution des Ressources Linguistiques)
55, rue Brillat-Savarin
75013   Paris   FRANCE
Tel: (+33) (0) - Fax: (+33) (0)
mailto:jeff at elda.fr
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