OBTranslate® Partners With the West African Linguistic Society (WALS)

OBTranslate® also known as "OpenBinacle Translate" has partnered with the West African Linguistic Society (WALS) to undertake artificial intelligence and machine translation research to standardize and preserve West African indigenous languages.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties covers Machine Translation (MT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Generative AI, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), aimed at understanding the structure and characteristics of over 500 West African languages.

This move will propel OBTranslate® researchers and scientists to improve its machine translation systems, speech recognition, and natural language processing tools, specifically tailored to West African languages. This will help make these low-resourced West African languages more accessible on the OBTranslate® machine translation platform, digitally.

This is contained in a joint statement issued by the current President of WALS, Professor Lendzemo Constantine Yuka, and the Founder/Chief Executive Officer of OpenBinacle Group, Mr. Emmanuel Gabriel.

The West African Linguistic Society (WALS) is a professional group of scholars, researchers, field workers, and teachers who mainly come from the West African sub-region. Members primarily come from the Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Togo.

The scholarly organization provides a platform for linguists, researchers, and scholars interested in the linguistic diversity and languages of West Africa to come together, share their research, and collaborate on various linguistic topics. WALS promotes the documentation, analysis, and preservation of the languages of West Africa, which is a linguistically rich and diverse region with hundreds of different languages. It also publishes journals, conference proceedings, and other publications that contribute to the understanding, revitalization, and documentation of the languages of West Africa.

OBTranslate® also known as "OpenBinacle Translate" is a subsidiary of OpenBinacle Group®. It is a deep learning company that has developed an online CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tool, Neural Machine Translation (NMT), and artificial intelligence (AI) platform for over 2,000 African and European languages ("OBTranslate"). It also aimed to bridge language barriers on the African continent and globally.

The statement quoted Prof. Lendzemo Constantine Yuka, the President of WALS, saying that the "constructive partnership has merit" as OBTranslate® and WALS will develop policies related to language education, including the teaching of the official/national language(s) and minority/indigenous West African languages.

Prof. Yuka added that WALS typically organizes conferences, workshops, and other events that bring together experts in the field of linguistics to discuss and exchange ideas on topics related to West African languages. These events serve as a platform for researchers to present their findings, share insights, and foster academic collaboration.

Emmanuel Gabriel issued a statement that, OBTranslate® and WALS are committed to ensuring that the West African language policy upholds language rights, protects linguistic minorities, and promotes inclusivity. Both parties will consider policies for the use of languages in public administration, legal systems, media, and cultural institutions.

Also, the Group CEO added, that the partnership with WALS will drive OpenBinacle® to set up more operation offices in 16 West African countries, and foster strong partnerships with more universities, to promote collaborative research in machine translation, artificial intelligence, and generative AI. He added that jobs would be created for linguists, and researchers, and raising public awareness about the linguistic diversity of West Africa and the importance of preserving and studying these indigenous or low-resourced languages, would prevent over 500 West African languages from extinction.

WALS, which has been in existence for 50 years, has made substantial progress by establishing Departments of Linguistics in universities in West Africa, accelerating the development of linguistics and linguistic study in the West African sub-region, stimulating the training and production of African scholars in the field of linguistics, regional cooperation across the Anglophone and Francophone language divide, more intensive linguistic research, and maintenance of the two key activities of the Society, i.e. the Congresses and publication of the Journal of West African Languages (JWAL).

The partnership between OBTranslate® and WALS will be mutually beneficial, potentially advancing the study and preservation of West African languages while improving the machine translation and generative AI capabilities of OBTranslate® for these languages in 16 West African countries.

It is well known that OBTranslate® has been featured by many reputable organizations in the world and spoken highly about in the corridors of powers of the United Nations, UNESCO, Council of Europe, Orange Telecom, BBC News, CNN, GIZ, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development - BMZ (Germany), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Vanguard Nigeria, Guardian Newspapers and over 100 media organizations around the world.

Obtranslate aligns with the aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the African Union, and six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for sustainable development.

The statement also provided www.obtranslate.org and www.obtranslate.com platforms to learn more about OBTranslate.

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