Participatory Translations of Oshiwambo: Towards Culture Preservation with Language Technology


In this paper, we describe a participatory, collaborative, and cost-effective process for creating translations in Oshiwambo, the most widely spoken African language in Namibia. We aim to (1) build a resource for language technology development, (2) bridge generational gaps in cultural and language knowledge, and at the same time (3) provide socio-economic opportunities through language preservation. The created data spans diverse topics of cultural importance, and comprises over 7.5k sentences written in the Oshindonga dialect and translated to English, the largest parallel corpus for Oshiwambo to-date. We show that it is very effective for machine translation, especially when combined with transfer learning.

In Workshop on NLP for Positive Impact @ EMNLP
Jenalea Rajab
Jenalea Rajab

Currently completing my MSc research in Addressing Ambiguity in Human Robot Interaction using Compositional Reinforcement Learning for Adaptive Task Inference