The Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has been collaborating with various partners in Armenia and in the Diaspora to support the development of important language-related IT initiatives. These include universal Armenian spellcheckers, websites and databases analysing Armenian word formations, respective apps, universal platforms analysing Armenian grammar, and considerable amounts of digitized publications and searchable texts in Armenian. In line with our mission to enhance the use of the Armenian language, these freely and openly accessible digital resources and tools have been put at the disposal of everyday readers, researchers, and language learners and users around the world.
To chart the next steps that need to be taken in the language-related IT programming – given the constant and fast-paced developments in the sector – and as part of its new five-year plan, the Armenian Communities Department teamed up with the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, to host a working meeting on 30 and 31 May 2023, wherein a team of more than 20 domain experts from around the world met at TUMO Yerevan.
The objective of the meeting was to identify the necessary tools to be created in order to enhance the use of the language further and to ensure its vitality keeping it compatible with advancements in IT, to explore the most promising ideas and initiatives in the field, and to discuss the key questions of the day: What are the essential tools needed to bring Armenian to the forefront of technology? What opportunities and threats are likely to emerge from the latest developments in artificial intelligence? How can we ensure that Armenian proficiency is built into Large Language Models and other generative AI tools?
Some of the actionable points that emerged from the 2023 working meeting include: creating an exponentially larger corpus of digital Armenian data; centralizing data in order to make it accessible to the open-source community; creating grammar tools, online translators, speech-to-text and text-to-speech tools; and forming an advisory body to provide expert advice on initiatives to undertake.
This initiative builds on the results of the 2015 workshop entitled “Advancing Armenian Language through Information Technology and New Communication Tools” that took place as a joint initiative of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and TUMO. The Foundation determined many of its subsequent IT and Armenian language related programming based on the 2015 gathering. Similarly, the May 2023 meeting will inform programming in this area during the newly launched 2023-2027 five-year plan.
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