This is a technology which is becoming increasingly prevalent as the human voice is used more and more for question and answer systems on mobile phones and tablets, and voice control for such things as television sets, robots and dictation systems. If Welsh cannot be used in these environments, then the language will be excluded from the digital world and Welsh speakers will have no choice but to speak English with these devices.
In order to pave the way for new Welsh medium technologies we have produced a Welsh question and answer prototype, where a personal assistant called “Macsen” is able to answer questions such as what is the news or weather.
Here is a video that introduces Macsen and demonstrates it at work on a small Raspberry Pi computer:
All of Macsen’s code and resources are available on GitHub so that anyone can expand its capabilities and develop their own Macsen. The homepage for Macsen on the web and where you’ll know where to begin is:
We will continue to work on speech recognition and other open resources for Macsen. Get in touch with us if you’re a software company, coding club, school or a hacker with an interest in including Macsen into your own software projects.
‘Macsen’ was developed within the ‘Welsh Language Communications Infrastructure’ project which was funded by the Welsh Government and S4C.