Human language technology (HLT) has been identified as a priority area
by the South African government. However, despite efforts by government and the
research and development (R&D) community, South Africa has not yet been able to
maximise the opportunities of HLT and create a thriving HLT industry. One of the
key challenges is the fact that there is insufficient codified knowledge about the
current South African HLT components, their attributes and existing relationships.
Hence a technology audit was conducted for the South African HLT landscape, to
create a systematic and detailed inventory of the status of the HLT components
across the eleven official languages. Based on the Basic Language Resource Kit
(BLaRK) framework Krauwer (ELRA Newslett 3(2), 1998), we used various data
collection methods (such as focus groups, questionnaires and personal consultations
with HLT experts) to gather detailed information. The South African HLT landscape
is analysed using a number of complementary approaches and based on the
interpretations of the results, recommendations are made on how to accelerate HLT
development in South Africa, as well as on how to conduct similar audits in other
countries and contexts.
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