SLTU-2008 - First International Workshop on Spoken Languages Technologies for Under-Resourced Languages

Hanoi, Vietnam
May 5-7, 2008

Preservation of African Cultural Heritage by Automatic Transcription of African Languages

Abdiilahi Nimaan (1), Pascal Nocera (2)


(1) Institut des Sciences et des Nouvelles Technologies (Centre de Recherche de Djibouti), Djibouti
(2) Laboratoire Informatique d'Avignon (Université d'Avignon et des Pays du Vaucluse), France

Most African countries follow an oral tradition system to transmit their cultural, scientific and historic heritage through generations. This ancestral knowledge accumulated during centuries is today threatened of disappearing. Automatic transcription and indexing tools seem potential solution to preserve it. This paper presents the first steps of automatic speech recognition (ASR) of Djibouti languages in order to index the Djibouti cultural heritage. This work is dedicated to process Somali language, which represents half of the targeted Djiboutian audio archives. We describe the principal characteristics of audio (10 hours) and textual (3M words) training corpora collected and the first ASR results of this language. Using the specificities of the Somali language, (words are composed of a concatenation of sub-words called ”roots” in this paper), we improve the obtained results. We also discuss future ways of research like roots indexing of audio archives.

Index Terms— less-equipped languages, corpora, african languages, asr, hybrid language model

Full Paper
Presentation (pdf)

Bibliographic reference.  Nimaan, Abdiilahi / Nocera, Pascal (2008): "Preservation of african cultural heritage by automatic transcription of african languages", In SLTU-2008, 7-11.