[lg policy] TALAf 2016 (deadline extended to May 8) - NLP in Africa

Don Osborn dzo at bisharat.net
Mon Apr 25 16:24:16 UTC 2016

With the understanding that advances in language technology may affect 
and reflect language policy, and vice-versa, here is info on a workshop 
on the more technical side of the ecology, which is being organized by 
TALAf (Traitement automatique des langues africaines). It will be held 
in Paris on July 4, 2016, as part of the combined JEP-TALN-RECITAL 

The primary language of the workshop is French, but English submissions 
are accepted. The English version of the updated CFP follows (it 
includes some policy-relevant details, btw); the French version can be 
accessed at http://talaf.imag.fr/2016/atelierTALAf2016v7.pdf 

Questions should go to Mathieu Mangeot at mathieu.mangeot at imag.fr 
<mailto:mathieu.mangeot at imag.fr>

*TALAf 2016 : Traitement automatique des langues africaines (écrit et 

Atelier JEP-TALN-RECITAL 2016 - Paris le 4 juillet 2016*

*Nouveau : DATE LIMITE : 8 mai 2016*

Version HTML : http://talaf.imag.fr/

Version PDF : http://talaf.imag.fr/2016/atelierTALAf2016v7.pdf 


TALAf workshops take place every two years. The first workshop was held 
during the JEP-TALN-RÉCITAL 2012 conference on June 8, 2012 in Grenoble 
(see proceedings: http://aclweb.org/anthology//W/W12/#1300 
<http://aclweb.org/anthology//W/W12/#1300>). The second one took place 
during the TALN 2014 conference on July 1, 2014 in Marseille (see 

The third edition of TALAf will be held during the JEP-TALN-RECITAL 
conference, on July 4, 2016 at INALCO in Paris. 

Natural language processing is booming in Africa. Indeed, in many 
countries, there is an ongoing official recognition of national 
languages, for instance:


    In Niger, laws defining alphabets for Hausa, Kanuri, and Tamajaq
    Zarma were published in 1999. Since then, the National Assembly has
    set up simultaneous translation of the debates in three languages:
    French, Hausa and Zarma;


    In Morocco, the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM), which
    works for the promotion of Amazigh culture and development of the
    Berber language was founded by royal decree in 2001;


    In Senegal, the recognition of national languages of the recognition
    was mentioned in the first article of the Constitution of 7 January
    2001: "The official language of the Republic of Senegal is French.
    The national languages are Diola, Malinke, Pular, Serer, Soninke,
    Wolof and other national language to be codified." The Department of
    Technical Education, Vocational Training, Literacy and National
    Languages (METFPALN) is responsible for this. Since December 9,
    2014, the Senegalese parliamentarians debates are translated
    simultaneously through an interpretation system in six national
    languages (Fulani, Serere, Wolof, Jola, Mandinka and Soninke) in
    addition to French, allowing the majority of members to speak in
    their mother tongue.

Moreover, a number of colleagues / African scholars trained in the North 
return to their country with the will to continue their work in local 
languages. There are also some Diasporas that have technological 
material allowing them to contribute directly online and on a voluntary 

Added to this, the development of bilingual education programs (official 
/ national language) in primary schools in many countries is growing. 
The official language remaining mostly that of the former colonial 
country (French, English, Portuguese ...).

On the other hand, mobile phones are spreading fast: with 650 million 
units, Africa has surpassed the United States and Europe. In many areas, 
it is easier to install a mobile antenna than fixed lines. Therefore, 
the people who use a telephone for the first time do it with a mobile 
terminal. Applications are developed such as money transfer or 
dissemination of weather reports.

The funding of research projects on these languages can now be obtained 
from the "Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie" with their 
calls for projects of the "fonds francophone des inforoutes" (see eg 
DiLAF <http://www.dilaf.org/> orflore 
projects) or the "Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie". France also 
supports projects on these languages through the National Agency for 
Research (see eg ALFFA <http://alffa.imag.fr/> project).

So the conditions are gathered for the development of natural language 
processing in Africa, both written and spoken.

In this context, the roles of TALAf workshop are:


    bring together researchers in the field through meetings at the
    workshop but also with the talaf at imag.fr <mailto:talaf at imag.fr>
    mailing list;


    pooling knowledge using open source tools, standards (ISO, Unicode),
    and publishing the resources produced with an open license (Creative
    Commons) to avoid including the loss of information when a project
    stops and can not be resumed immediately for lack of resources;


    develop a set of best practices based on the experience of
    researchers ; set up simple efficient methodologies based on free or
    very cheap software for the development of resources, exchange about
    techniques that can avoid the use of non-existent resources and
    finally avoid loss of time and energy.

TALAf workshops are supported by the non-profit organisation 
"Lexicologie Terminologie Traduction": http://www.ltt.auf.org/index.php 

We invite all researchers in natural language processing working on 
African languages, including Creole languages of Africa, whether written 
or oral, to submit a paper to this workshop.


Publications should contain between 6 and 12 pages. Authors are invited 
to submit papers presenting original research particularly on the themes 
listed below.

French speaking authors are invited to write in French with a summary in 
the language of their choice. Non-French speaking writers can write in 
English with a summary in French and another in the language of their 


The workshop is open to research works on the following topics:


• written corpora (monolingual, bilingual aligned or comparable)

• speech corpora (including transcription)

• lexicons, dictionaries and databases (monolingual, bilingual, 

• resources enrichment

• resources quality evaluation


• morphological analyzers, spell-checkers

• syntactic analyzers, grammar checkers

• machine translation systems(empirical or rule-based)

• speech recognition

• text-to-speech synthesis

• transliteration


Submissions will be reviewed by at least two specialists of the domain.

The following points will be taken into account:


    adequacy to the workshop topics


    importance and originality of the contribution,


    scientific and technical content precision,


    organisation and clarity of the presentation.


The submission formats will be available for OpenOffice, Word and Latex 
and accessible from:


The communication proposals must be sent in PDF format to the following 



Martine Adda-Decker (CNRS-LPP & LIMSI, Paris, France)

Laurent Besacier (LIG, Grenoble, France)

Sokhna Bao Diop (Université Gaston Berger, St Louis du Sénégal, Sénégal)

Philippe Bretier (Voxygen, Pleumeur-Bodou, France)

Khalid Choukri (ELDA, Paris, France)

Mame Thierno Cissé (ARCIV, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Sénégal)

Chantal Enguehard (LINA, Nantes, France)

Núria Gala (LIF, Marseille, France)

Modi Issouf (Ministère de l'Éducation, Niamey, Niger)

Fary Silate Ka (IFAN, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Sénégal)

Mathieu Mangeot (LIG, Grenoble, France)

Chérif Mbodj, (Centre de Linguistique Appliquée de Dakar, Sénégal)

Kamal Naït-Zerrad (INALCO, Paris, France)

El Hadj Mamadou Nguer (Université Gaston Berger, St Louis du Sénégal, 

Donald Osborn (Bisharat, ltd.)

Francois Pellegrino, (DDL, Lyon, France)

Olivier Rosec (Voxygen, Pleumeur-Bodou, France)

Fatiha Sadat (UQAM, Montréal, Canada)

Aliou Ngoné Seck (FLSH, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Sénégal)

Emmanuel Schang (Université d'Orléans, Orléans, France)

Gilles Sérasset (LIG, Grenoble, France)

Max Silberztein (ELLIADD, Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France)

Sylvie Voisin (DDL, Lyon, France)

Valentin Vydrin (LLACAN-INALCO, Paris, France)


- Submission deadline: 8 May 2016

- Notification of acceptance: 23 May 2016

- Final Submission Deadline: 3 June 2016

- Workshop: 4 July 2016


- For any question, please contact mathieu.mangeot at imag.fr 
<mailto:mathieu.mangeot at imag.fr>

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