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Technology Updates

18/04/2021 Leave a comment

Summary reportInterest is growing in the new opportunities and facilities that may open up for Gaelic speakers and learners, as and when Automatic Speech Recognition in the language becomes a working reality. Island Voices has been following recent developments with interest through our “Same-time Subtitles” and “Creative Craigard!” posts. In fact, we’ve been participants in the process, as both contributors and beneficiaries, with 80 Gaelic videos now featuring subtitles enabled by the project team – from Guthan nan Eilean Series 1 and 2, plus further material from Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal and Guth nan Siarach! The project began with Soillse funding, and Will Lamb has now produced a short summary report on this initial stage of the work, including numerous links for further reading and examples. It’s available on the Soillse website.

Agus ‘s cinnteach gun robh spòrs gu leòr aig Alasdair MacLeòid aig a’ BhBC nuair a bha e a’ cur an aithisg seo ri chèile airson Radio nan Gàidheal. Èistibh ris an intro aige, agus e a’ cluich leis a’ ghuth air an satnav aige fhad ‘s a bha e a’ draibheadh mun cuairt air na rathaidean san Eilean Sgitheanach! ‘S e cuspair na h-aithisg Google Translate agus na leasachaidhean a th’ air a bhith ann le Gàidhlig thairis air na bliadhnaichean, a’ togail air a’ phost againn fhèin – “Google learns Gaelic“. Ach, a bharrachd air plug beag airson Guthan nan Eilean, bha beagan eachdraidh ann cuideachd, le Will Lamb a’ bruidhinn air mar a chuidich e Google aig toiseach a’ ghnothaich le bhith a’ cur Gàidhlig san t-siostam, cuide ri rabhadh glic bho Anna NicSuain mu dheidhinn cuid dhe na duilgheadasan a tha ann fhathast an lùib eadar-theangachadh, agus a dh’fhaodadh a bhith ann gu bràth…

Seo an tweet a sgaoil sinn ma dheidhinn:

Categories: CALL, Community, Research

Google learns Gaelic

20/03/2021 3 comments

Five years ago Island Voices posted about “Google Gaelic“, in wake of the excitement over the recent addition of Scottish Gaelic to the list of languages supported by Google Translate. The move, while welcomed in some quarters, was not an uncontroversial one, with many people voicing fears over how it could be easily misused, for example to the detriment of people working in translation services.

The pitfalls inherent in using Google Translate, in particular to try to generate well-formed Gaelic from English input, are still very much there. However, here’s a good news story relating to translation from Gaelic into English. Our five-year old post gave a sample of English text generated by processing the Gaelic voiceover script for our peatcutting documentary through Google Translate. Five years later we’ve just done the same thing again.

You can compare the two texts here, with 2016 in the left column, and 2021 in the right. The later one is still by no means perfect, but it’s still clearly an improvement on the first version. Google is “learning”, and Island Voices welcomes that, particularly in light of the recent adoption of optional CC subtitles on our Series 1 and Series 2 films, meaning the original Gaelic can be machine translated into scores of other languages at the click of a mouse…

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Stòras Beò: Magaidh

12/02/2021 1 comment

Maggie Smith, from Achmore on Lewis, has been doing a power of work collecting and recording Gaelic stories and poetry around and about the island for a number of years, many of them curated on her own website, and reproduced on the Island Voices page dedicated to her work. Nor has lockdown stopped her, as she reveals in this conversation with Pàdruig Moireach conducted over Zoom.

This is a new and experimental departure for the Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal team, seeking to make a virtue out of necessity. Indeed, in some ways community recording work may become easier as more and more of us get accustomed to using technology to overcome physical barriers. If this works well, we can expect more of this kind of material in the months to come.

In the first part, Maggie talks about early childhood memories and stories of Glasgow where she was born, though her Achmore roots go back many generations. Returning home she recalls the kind of upbringing island children of her age received, in which community links and mutual responsibilities were strong. Grandparental stories from work experience in Patagonia, and snatches of Spanish at the fank guarded against cultural introversion. She recalls her schooling, and the impact of television’s arrival on cèilidh culture, with traditional work on the land noticeably falling off in the 80s, particularly after oil work began.

A wordlinked transcript, with the video embedded, is available on Clistore here: https://multidict.net/cs/9169

In the second part Maggie and Pàdruig talk about trends in island work patterns over the years. The advent of the Arnish yard led to skills development opportunities for men across Lewis, which many later put to use in openings around the world. Weaving was a traditional occupation, frequently practised in combination with other jobs. Even as a schoolchild Maggie was accustomed to fitting her schoolwork into other duties, such as fetching water for the house. After a short spell working in Inverness after school, she returned to work with the family haulage firm for many years, before branching out into media work, tourism and other projects.

A wordlinked transcript, with the video embedded, is available on Clilstore: https://multidict.net/cs/9170

In the third part Maggie talks more about her cultural activity in the community, including community drama based on locally sourced stories, and the collection of local poetry. Moving to Zoom during lockdown has created a new platform for locals to share stories and for incomers and Gaelic learners to learn about the culture, recreating old communities and gathering new people. She also talks about the power of music and song in working with older people at risk of memory loss, and of collecting fishermen’s stories, mostly in Gaelic. The conversation ends with a discussion of changes that have come over Achmore and the use of Gaelic in the community.

A wordlinked transcript, with the video embedded, is available on Clilstore: https://multidict.net/cs/9171

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Creative Craigard!

06/02/2021 6 comments

 

Our Craigard film was the first we ever made, and we keep returning to it for inspiration!

This week’s exciting news, following our posts last Friday and Saturday, is the addition of optional subtitles to the Island Voices Gaelic videos on our YouTube channel. When we asked who would be interested in such a development on our social media last weekend, the positive reactions quickly came back in their hundreds. (Some folk also wanted the reassurance that this would not mean the withdrawal of un-subtitled videos or of the Clilstore transcripts – we have no intention of doing either!)

Given the strongly expressed enthusiasm, the response from the Speech Recognition research project team has been instant and impressive. Systems have been set up to enable the automatic subtitling of all the Gaelic output on our Island Voices Videos YouTube channel, and all 20 films in Series One are already done – with the Craigard documentary in first place on the playlist. Keep an eye out for swift progress on Series Two and other films in due course!

The way in is through the CC “Closed Caption” button. To see any subtitles at all, that needs to be on. (So the default viewing remains clear of any textual additions.) You should now see the Gaelic subtitles.

But that’s not all – once you have them on, there’s another clever little trick that enables Google Translate to work on them. If you go into Settings (next to CC) and then click on “subtitles” you’ll find an “auto-translate” option, which then opens a wide range of languages into which the Gaelic subtitles can be translated.

Machine translation remains an imperfect science, of course, so any expectation of error-free renderings will inevitably be disappointed. Nevertheless, even without this extra facility, Gaelic learners stand to benefit just from using the Gaelic subtitles alone as an extra support for their eyes to help their ears recognise what they’re hearing.

So here’s the Craigard film again – this time with the new multilingual subtitle functionality added.

Nor is this the first time that the Craigard film has taken the lead in test-driving new innovations and community adaptations. Donald Mackinnon’s re-voicing of the original films in Gaelic and English was our first step along the road to the re-purposing of many of our films in Other Tongues. And, much more recently, it’s the film Valentini Litsiou chose for her Greek contribution. (Donald’s versions are actually hosted on a different YouTube channel, so the subtitling option is not available for them – but he did the film in both Gaelic and English, anyway!)

Donald in Gaelic:

Donald in English:

Valentini in Greek:

Who can say what the next innovation will be?

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video

Flòraidh “ioma-chànanach”!

05/02/2021 Leave a comment

Gàidhlig agus Beurla, gu cinnteach – ach a bheil cànain eile aig Flòraidh NicDhòmhnaill? Agus ma tha, cia mheud!?

Abair seachdain “techie” a th’ air a bhith aig Guthan nan Eilean. Bha fèill mhòr Dihaoine is Disathairne sa chaidh air na fo-thiotalan “automataigeach” a chaidh a chruthachadh aig Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann ann am pròiseact Shoillse, ach dè eile a thàinig a-mach à sin ach cothrom fo-thiotalan a chur air na bhidiothan Gàidhlig uile gu lèir a th’ aig Guthan nan Eilean air YouTube! Cha ghabh an obair sin dèanamh taobh-a-staigh latha, ach tha an sgioba ris a’ ghnothach, agus tha Sreath 1 deiseil mar-thà.

Chan e sin deireadh an sgeòil ge-tà. Le fo-thiotalan “san t-siostam” a-nis tha sin a’ fàgail gur urrainnear “eadar-theangachadh” a thabhann cuideachd tro Google Translate air na fo-thiotalan sna bhidiothan. Cha bhi iad gun mhearachd idir, ach can nam biodh càirdean agad aig nach eil Gàidhlig: an dèidh dhut “CC” a chur air, faodar an uair sin na settings air “subtitles” atharrachadh gu “auto-translate” airson tionndadh air choireigin a thabhann dhaibh ann am Beurla – no Frangais, Gearmailtis, agus iomadh cànan eile.

Seo Flòraidh, ma tha, ann an Sreath 1, ri “leughadh” cha mhòr ann an cànan sam bith a thogras tu.

Agus mar chuimhne air a’ chuspair air a bheil i a’ bruidhinn, cuir sùil a-rithis air a’ phost “Community Adaptations” airson tionndaidhean eile (gun fo-thiotalan) fhaicinn dhe na filmichean aithriseach a thòisich an còmhradh, le seann charaid eile aig Guthan nan Eilean na rionnag annta…

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Same-time Sub-titles

30/01/2021 3 comments

Archie Campbell’s peatcutting skills and lore – well-known to Island Voices followers – were given a sparkling fresh polish in the progress report from the Gaelic Automatic Speech Recognition project being led by Will Lamb – another Island Voices veteran.

While the overall aim of the project is more ambitious still, the new Gaelic audio alignment tool was unveiled as a step along the way, using videos from our Series 2 collections, particularly featuring the ever-popular Peatcutting documentary plus the talking head interview clips of Archie talking about the work and associated social customs.

Will’s tweet shows a short sample clip.

But you can see the videos in full (plus another documentary sample looking at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig) by following this link. (Clips 724-726 for the peatcutting, 746 for SMO.)

This raises an interesting question for Island Voices, going forward. We’ve generally avoided adding sub-titles to our videos – with some specific exceptions – though we have made a point of supplying scrollable read-along Clilstore transcripts in almost all cases. This latest innovation suggests on-screen same-time sub-titles may be about to become an additional option – for our Gaelic films at least. What do our followers think of that?

 

Categories: Audio, CALL, Community, Research, Video

Gaelic Speech Recognition

29/01/2021 2 comments

Island Voices have made a significant contribution to this fascinating project led by Will Lamb, formally of Colaisde Bheinn na Faoghla and now at Edinburgh University.

Follow the tweet, or this link, not just for a full techie description that is clearly laid out, but also to see how the transcribed videos created by the Guthan nan Eilean project have been visually enhanced by Quorate‘s text aligner to automatically produce same-language Gaelic subtitles.

It’s dazzling stuff! And this is still the beginning, thanks to the seed funding from Soillse for collaborative work. Next stages promise to bring in additional partners and much wider applications. Watch this space!

 

Categories: Audio, CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video

Ceòlas nyári iskola

13/01/2021 Leave a comment

Rövid dokumentumfilm a Ceòlas skót-gael zenei nyári iskoláról, melyet a Skócia Nyugat Szigeteihez, a Külső Hebrdákhoz tartozó Dél-Uiston rendeznek meg minden évben.

Hungarian becomes the nineteenth language in which an Island Voices film is featured, as part of our ongoing “Other Tongues” initiative.

We’re very grateful to László Horváth, a long time friend of the Gaelic language, for this kind and skilful contribution in his own mother tongue.

László teaches at Corvinus University and McDaniel College in Budapest, but he has been involved with Gaelic since he was 15 years old. He has attended several summer schools at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, where he has lectured in Gaelic and made many friends. He has also written a series of Gaelic articles on Hungarian language renewal for the Gairm periodical. László is currently teaching his students in Budapest from Istanbul, where he is staying with his Turkish wife, Sinem. Still, somehow he managed to find time to send through to us a Hungarian version of the original commentary. Mòran taing, a László!

His chosen film is the documentary from the original Series One about the Ceòlas music summer school held annually in South Uist. It aims to integrate traditional music and dance in a community setting. It has strong links with tutors from Cape Breton in Canada, where old styles of Scottish fiddling and stepdancing have been maintained. The school attracts students from around the world.

As usual, a wordlinked Clilstore transcript – with the film embedded – is also available. You can find it here: https://multidict.net/cs/9092

Categories: CALL, Community, UGC, Video

Tο Κέντρο ημέρας Craigard

06/12/2020 1 comment

Μια ταινία μικρού μήκους για το κέντρο ημέρας Craigard στο Lochmaddy, στα Δυτικά Νησιά της Σκωτίας. Πρόκειται για ένα μέρος, όπου πολλά άτομα περνούν δημιουργικά και ευχάριστα το χρόνο τους.

Originally made in 2006, our Craigard documentary is now re-published with a commentary in Greek, as part of our “Other Tongues” initiative, in which our films are shared with other languages around the world. It’s a particular pleasure to see our first ever documentary, and still one of our favourites, brought back to life in this way!

As usual, a wordlinked Clilstore transcript – with the film embedded – is also available. You can find it here: https://multidict.net/cs/9062

Our narrator this time is Valentini Litsiou of C.V.T. Georgiki Anaptixi – an early partner with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in one of the follow-up initiatives to the POOLS project out of which Island Voices/Guthan nan Eilean was born. So it seemed particularly appropriate to “go back to the beginning” when Valentini selected “Craigard” as the film she would like to translate and narrate.

Valentini still works for the same group, offering support in public relations, and has been involved in various other European projects. She’s always enjoyed this work because of the opportunities it’s offered to meet people of other cultures, who speak other languages, and who have other ways of thinking.

She has a wide range of domestic interests too, but is not enjoying this period of COVID-19 restrictions. Luckily for us, it didn’t stop her from making this excellent new contribution to Island Voices in double quick time! Perhaps the earlier experience of POOLS-related recording work made it an easy decision for her to get involved again?

Or maybe she’s just a natural star – witness her contributions in “Mi piace questo binario!”, also recently dusted off and re-presented…

 

Categories: CALL, Community, UGC, Video

Stòras Beò: Màiri

01/12/2020 2 comments

Mary Robertson is another well-known Benbecula resident, here talking to fellow Baoghlach Archie Campbell for UHI’s Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal series of recordings capturing natural conversations between fluent Hebridean speakers of Gaelic.

In the first part, Mary talks about her family and her memories of her early schooldays in Torlum. Her father was a gamekeeper for the South Uist estate. Leaving home at 15 to get further training at Duncraig Castle was a shock. She describes the daily routine there. After that she worked in Edinburgh for two years before moving to Fort William to do hotel work, where she found more of an island community.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8252

In the second part, Mary describes returning to Benbecula after losing her husband in an industrial accident, and the changes she noticed, particularly with the increased army presence and the work available through public schemes. She found work in the newly opened Sgoil Lìonacleit, where she continued till retirement. She is also involved with various charities and community groups, and her church involvement has entailed trips abroad to various countries. Her Gaelic interest also took her to Canada. She still dances and enjoys walking in various parts of the Highlands.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: http://multidict.net/cs/8253

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video
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