Speech technology

Bangor University has received £120,000 in funding to establish a research network for speech and language technologies (SALT) in Wales.

The university intends to use the two-year grant to create a special interest group through which industry and academia can collaborate on the development of new language software and speech technology.

Industry leaders in e-commerce, e-health and educational software have already been approached to join the network.

However, the university said that it could also benefit companies that operate in a multilingual environment.

Gruffudd Prys, project manager, said: ‘Our Language Technology Unit is being approached by companies asking where they can get multilingual proofing tools, machine translation aids or speech technology applications to include in their products, or whether such things exist for the languages they work with.

‘We felt that setting up a special interest group for SALT would put all these companies in touch with each other and really act as a catalyst for research and knowledge transfer within Wales.’

The funding has been awarded as part of the Assembly Government’s £70m Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme, which is aimed at improving the economic impact of Welsh academic institutions.

Wales’s deputy first minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, said: ‘This is a further example of how our management of European funds can help to link up Welsh universities and industry, enabling them to become world-class players in a growing sector of the economy.

‘Companies from the ICT and media sectors in Wales are well placed to benefit globally from new speech and language technology techniques that are as yet under-exploited.’