The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is working on a project called 'Speech Technologies for North Eastern Languages' to create Speech Technology Tools for Healthcare Information Dissemination. The tools will allow for the retrieval of healthcare-related information in seven North East Indian languages using spoken keyword spotting (KWS).
A database of health-related information in seven languages spoken in North East India will also be produced as part of the initiative. This initiative is designed to make it easier for individuals in remote parts of North East India to obtain healthcare-related information in their local languages.
The Centre for Linguistic Science and Technology (CLST at IIT Guwahati has got funding for this project from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, under its ‘National Language Translation Mission (NLTM): BHASHINI’ initiative.
Highlighting the unique aspects of this Project, Prof. T.G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, said, “This work embodies IIT Guwahati’s commitment to work for the local languages and ethnicities of North East India. The interdisciplinary nature of the project and the focus on local languages reflect the spirit envisaged in the National Education Policy, 2020.”
This project involves building speech technology tools for healthcare information dissemination in Hindi, English, Assamese, Bangla, Bodo, Manipuri, Khasi, Mizo, Nagamese, and Nepali.
Elaborating on this project, Prof. Rohit Sinha, Principal Investigator of project, and Head, Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said, "The Institute is committed to developing tools that will facilitate last-mile connectivity and information dissemination to the various communities living in the NE area, in their own languages. This project will be a step towards achieving that aim.”
Prof. Sinha further stated that the Centre for Linguistic Science and Technology (CLST) is a one-of-a-kind and truly multidisciplinary centre dedicated to language analysis and technology development in North East India through research initiatives and its PhD programme.
The Spoken Keyword Spotting (KWS) systems developed in the project will be able to recognise a specified list of terms in a given voice signal of one of the project's target languages. The initiatives will include modelling speech using cutting-edge deep neural network-based approaches.
Prof. Rohit Sinha, Prof. Priyankoo Sarmah, Sanasam Ranbir Singh, and Ashish Anand from CLST, IIT Guwahati make up the multidisciplinary CLST team.
This research is part of a broader consortium effort called Speech Technologies for Indian Languages, which is directed by IIT Madras.
The IIT Guwahati team will collaborate with research teams from CDAC-Kolkata, IIIT Sri City, and NIT Manipur on the North East initiative.
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