The Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Science and Technology, Buti Manamela, will tomorrow officially launch the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) in Potchefstroom.
SADiLaR is a national centre supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) as part of the new South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR).
SADiLaR has an enabling function, with a focus on all official languages of South Africa, supporting research and development in the domains of language technologies and language-related studies in the humanities and social sciences.
The centre supports the creation, management and distribution of digital language resources, as well as applicable software, which is freely available for research purposes through the Language Resource Catalogue.
It is also a multi-partner distributed research infrastructure, comprising the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the University of South Africa, the University of Pretoria, and the Inter-institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment, and is currently hosted by North-West University.
The centre is a response to the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012, pertaining to the equal development and use of the 11 of official languages of the country.
SADiLaR is the first of its kind in Africa and promotes existing links with similar entities globally, especially with CLARIN, the European Research Infrastructure for Language Resources and Technology.
SADiLaR runs two programmes:
A digitisation programme, which entails the systematic creation of relevant digital text, speech and multi-modal resources related to all official languages of South Africa. The development of appropriate natural language processing software tools for research and development purposes are included as part of the digitisation programme.
A Digital Humanities programme, which facilitates the building of research capacity by promoting and supporting the use of digital data and innovative methodological approaches within the Humanities and Social Sciences.