Dr Sarah Flora Samson Juan, research fellow at the Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations (ISITI), recently won the Bronze Award at the recent InTEX 2017 (Information and Communication Technology) for her project on language documentation.
Language documentation is a process of recording linguistic properties and is crucial towards the preservation of a language’s identity. However, there are difficulties when documenting a language, especially when researchers have to collect and transcribe speech data from native speakers in rural areas. Another problem faced by researchers during the language documentation process is the management and storage of data in a repository during these trips.
In consideration of these challenges faced by the researchers, Dr Sarah and her team members from the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Suresh Ramachandran and Jennifer Fiona Wilfred Busu, came up with a solution which would ease the recording of languages. The invention, titled Kalaka: A Mobile Application for Collecting Speech and Text, is an application that is designed to manage both speech, text and speakers’ details. Kalaka, which means ‘talk’ in Sarawak Malay, can store the details of native speakers such as their name, origin and language. Apart from that, this application can both record speech and store speech transcripts. The mobile application also allows users to upload the acquired data into a cloud storage.