Irish language project recording 1,000 voices to enable virtual assistants

Irish language project recording 1,000 voices to enable virtual assistants

A new Irish language project aims to enable Irish versions of Siri, Alexa and more by recording people speaking their native tongue.

‘Míle Glór’, a thousand voices, is an initiative from Irish Language technology project, ‘Abair.ie’, which is aiming to record 1,000 people speaking Irish.

The recording, which will be taken from people of all ages and dialects, both in gaeltachts and outside of them, will be used to develop Irish language versions of services such as virtual assistants ‘Siri’ and ‘Alexa’.

The project was launched at the Oireachtas na Gaeilge festival by Minister of State for Irish Seán Kyne, who said that it will help ensure that Irish speakers have options for tech services “not just here at home but across the world”.

The Abhair.ie team, based in Trinity College, will be producing the data needed to enable virtual assistants and other voice responsive tech and services to use the Irish Language.

Such tech is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in everything from our phones to smart homes, at work to recording messages and email, to conducting web searches and getting directions in the car.

The work of Abhair.ie is supported by the the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht which has provided funding of €235,000 to support the project.

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