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PMC proposals/Apertium Workshop in Russia

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2011/11/02 #7: Apertium Workshop in Russia


This proposal aims to support a course/workshop/tutorial on machine translation in Russia aimed at the minority and regional languages thereof, and following that the development of a prototype pair for a minority language of Russia. Russia has a long history of work in machine translation, but very little work on the languages of Russia which are not Russian. Apertium has a lot of support for European languages, but few languages beyond. Having a long history of linguistics and computer science, Russia seems like an ideal place to expand.

Proposed by: Francis Tyers

Seconded by: --Jacob Nordfalk 19:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

In detail

The detailed proposal can be found in the following PDF document


  • A more extensive version of this proposal was submitted to the EAMT in the previous call for proposals, but was rejected.


The cost breakdown does not, at least at a surface glance, match the project proposal. I think much more explanation is needed: for example, why does a workshop, or a translator, need an internet connection? -- Jimregan 13:31, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Good question! The year-long internet connection is for the students who will be working on the translator, the same goes for the computers. Internet access is not so widespread in Chuvashia as in Moscow/St. Petersburg and the rest of Europe. For example, neither of the two universities have a campus internet connection. Computers are more widespread, but students studying Chuvash philology are not so likely to own them, nor likely to have ones suitable (e.g. sufficiently powerful/with GNU/Linux) suitable for work on Apertium. - Francis Tyers 13:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
As someone living in Chuvashia for almost three years I may explain the situation from the local side (which, even now, still shocks me from time to time). In Chuvashia official (monthly -fmt) average income is €220-230. As Chuvash language is not used at home with city children and there are not schools in it in the city, all Chuvash-language students comes from the country. That is what happens with the two students who would participate in the project. But the distance between city and country is extreme in Russia, as the result of decades of soviet industrialisation policies and post-soviet kolkhoz bankruptcy. So, even I don't have official data, the average income in the country may be 50-60% of the city one. More: The local universities do not have computers or free access to the internet (except in especial computer rooms used for classes). Country students live in hall of residents and there, also, there are not computers or internet. (Here the problem is that Moscow practices façade policies and gives all the money to the Moscow State Universitate in order to show that the country has at least one elite university centre: compare in the Shanghai ranking of universities the situation of Russian and Spanish universities). So all this causes that almost everywhere in Russia (with maybe the exception of regions with oil, as Tatarstan and Sakha) students with good knowledge of a minorised language seldom have a computer and/or access to the internet. That is the case at least in Chuvashia and that is why it is needed to buy computers and pay internet connections for such a project.--Hèctor Alòs i Font 18:42, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Reminds me of Nepal. I hope this would not only make a language pair but also be a tiny contribution to an under-prioritized region --Jacob Nordfalk 19:43, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

This is a request for funding. I'd like to know how much money we have and if there are other candidates for using them. --Jacob Nordfalk 18:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

We have around 10,000€ and no other candidates currently, although anyone can submit requests, e.g. for conferences and such. To my knowledge this is the first "project" request. - Francis Tyers 18:34, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
On one hand, if we have ~10,000, that essentially means we spent nothing last year, and spending the money on a project like this is what we ought to be doing; on the other hand, it would just be irresponsible to put half the money we have into any project without any guarantees or recourse. As this is GSoC money we're talking about, maybe we could take a leaf from the GSoC programme? Add a set of milestones, and if they are not met, the next payment does not go through? The details would be different, but it's worth at least discussing. -- Jimregan 19:28, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I think that would be perfectly fine. We could split it quite easily by deliverable, without adjusting the proposal. The idea would be that we get €1,450 for D1/D2 (the workshop) and then if it is successful (according to a PMC vote) the remaining €3,460 for the translator (D3-5) ? - Francis Tyers 19:33, 2 November 2011 (UTC)


Please note that voting is only open to PMC members. Please vote by signing (~~~) in the relevant section.


  1. Francis Tyers



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