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Government launches South African Centre for Digital Language Resources

Government launches South African Centre for Digital Language Resources

Buti Manamela, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Science and Technology will officially launch the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) in Potchefstroom this evening. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative in Africa which will promote links with similar global organisations such as CLARIN, the European Research Infrastructure for Language Resources and Technology. The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources – What you need to know What is SADiLaR? SADiLaR is a platform designed to create and manage digital resources and software meant to aid the development and research of language-related studies and technologies. The centre has been created in response to the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012. The Act speaks to the equitable development and use of all 11 of the country’s official languages. SADiLaR describes itself as a “multi-partner distributed research infrastructure”. The project is hosted by North-West University in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, The University of South Africa, the University of Pretoria, and the inter-institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment. Improving the public research system SADiLaR is one of eight research infrastructures which have been established by the Department of Science and Innovations so far as part of its South African Research Infrastructure road map to improve infrastructure across the public research system. The project has been in development since 2016 and comprises two distinct programmes. These are a digitisation programme and a digital humanities programme. The digitisation programme “entails the systematic creation of relevant digital text, speech and multi-modal resources related to all the official languages, and the development of appropriate natural language processing”. Which will help promote the access, research and adoption of all official languages digitally. Building research capacity The digital humanities programme is aimed at building research capacity by harnessing data-driven and innovative methodological approaches in the humanities and social sciences. This virtual infrastructure has already been used by over a 1000 students and approximately 90 researchers and developers. The programme provides a virtual resource portal allowing access to over 200 language resources and tools. Fields of research that will benefit from access to SADiLaR will include language, literacy and heritage studies, history, music, sociology, journalism, philosophy, psychology, media studies and visual and graphic art. Deputy Minister Manamela will be NWU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dan Kgwadi, including the Director of SADiLaR, Prof Attie de Lange, and the executive director of CLARIN, Prof, Franciska De Jong in launching the initiative this evening. Also read – Celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity on International Mother Language Day

Government launches South African Centre for Digital Language Resources

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