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Improvement of interactive and secure language and speech processing potential of TUBITAK-UEKAE for an increased multilingual capability in ERA

Final Report Summary - MULTISAUND (Improvement of interactive and secure language and speech processing potential of TUBITAK-UEKAE for an increased multilingual capability in ERA.)

Executive Summary:
The European multilingualism policy promotes linguistic diversity in European society and a healthy multilingual economy towards integrating multilingual facilities for the challenges stated in FP7 thematic areas. Accordingly, multilingual speech technologies, automatic translation systems and multimodal interactive solutions are considered as a part of European Research Area (ERA). The objectives of MULTISAUND are inspired from the multilingualism strategy of the European Commission. The ultimate goal of MTRD through MULTISAUND is to bridge the gap between different nations so as to achieve a greater solidarity and mutual understanding by activating multilingual technologies covering several languages such as Turkish. In relevant speech and language technologies, MTRD intends to increase its existing experience, facilities, scientific studies, and technological capacity with the support of MULTISAUND. Increasing number of joint research and networking opportunities would be one particular return of the MULTISAUND project. With its increased visibility and know-how, MTRD aims to become a renowned research group not only in Turkey but also in Europe. Making Turkish a part of the European technology market and ERA and being a partner in multilingual and multimodal technology development initiatives are yet important objectives of the project.

MULTISAUND has actually enjoyed growing interest from European speech and language research communities since the beginning of the project. MULTISAUND has achieved the expected goals to identify the potentials at the European level and has been enhancing the research capacity of MTRD in relevant fields. The project has already made an impact on MTRD’s technical competence, as its research activities have significantly increased. With its increased awareness in research community, MTRD now enjoys greater visibility both at national and international levels. MTRD team is now considered as a reliable partner having expertise especially in Turkish-oriented multilingual/multimodal technologies development and research, speaker recognition, audio-visual biometrics, ambient-assisted living, language processing/generation, and digital content analysis and management.

As a natural consequence of the project, MTRD has increased involvement in joint national/international research studies through participating in prestigious project consortiums. MTRD has been preparing competitive proposals and contributing to science and technology by putting “innovation” in the centre of its research strategy. Certainly, MULTISAUND has become a catalyst in future joint studies in line with MTRD’s renewed research strategies. It is believed that in the next few years MTRD will be an indispensable partner of European research community.

During the whole project, most of the targets have been truly achieved in accordance with the planned agenda. The focus of the project has shifted over time from capacity building activities such as hiring experienced researchers and upgrading the existing infrastructure to dissemination activities such as setting up relations with possible collaborators and organizing scientific events. MULTISAUND has initiated a breakthrough in making MTRD visible at national and international levels via publishing several journal articles/conference papers, submitting proposals, and receiving national funds from public bodies. During the whole period not only networking and collaborative studies but also scientific improvements through participated conferences and know-how exchanging activities have been accelerated. MULTISAUND has significantly strengthened the existing research capacity of MTRD and shaped the future roadmap of the group.

Project Context and Objectives:
The European multilingualism policy promotes linguistic diversity in European society and a healthy multilingual economy towards integrating multilingual facilities for the challenges stated in FP7 thematic areas. Accordingly, multilingual speech technologies, automatic translation systems and multimodal interactive solutions are considered as a part of European Research Area (ERA). The objectives of MULTISAUND are inspired from the multilingualism strategy of the European Commission. The ultimate goal of MTRD through MULTISAUND is to bridge the gap between different nations so as to achieve a greater solidarity and mutual understanding by activating multilingual technologies covering several languages such as Turkish. In relevant speech and language technologies, MTRD intends to increase its existing experience, facilities, scientific studies, and technological capacity with the support of MULTISAUND. Increasing number of joint research and networking opportunities would be one particular return of the MULTISAUND project. With its increased visibility and know-how, MTRD aims to become a renowned research group not only in Turkey but also in Europe. Making Turkish a part of the European technology market and ERA and being a partner in multilingual and multimodal technology development initiatives are yet important objectives of the project.


Project Results:
In addition to its increased visibility and research capacity, MTRD has actually enjoyed expanding research portfolio and studies since the beginning of the project. MULTISAUND has achieved the expected goals in terms of scientific and technological development of MTRD in relevant fields. MTRD team is now considered as a reliable partner having expertise especially in Turkish-oriented multilingual/multimodal technologies development and research, speaker recognition, audio-visual biometrics, ambient-assisted living, language processing/generation, and digital content analysis and management.

As a natural consequence of the project, MTRD has increased involvement in joint national/international research studies through participating in prestigious project consortiums. MTRD has been preparing competitive proposals and contributing to science and technology by putting “innovation” in the centre of its research strategy. Certainly, MULTISAUND has become a catalyst in future joint studies in line with MTRD’s renewed research strategies. It is believed that in the next few years MTRD will be an indispensable partner of European research community.

During the whole project, most of the targets have been truly achieved in accordance with the planned agenda. The focus of the project has shifted over time from capacity building activities such as hiring experienced researchers and upgrading the existing infrastructure to dissemination activities such as setting up relations with possible collaborators and organizing scientific events. MULTISAUND has initiated a breakthrough in making MTRD visible at national and international levels via publishing more than 30 journal articles/conference papers, submitting proposals, and receiving national funds from public bodies. During the whole period not only networking and collaborative studies but also scientific improvements through participated conferences and know-how exchanging activities have been accelerated. MULTISAUND has significantly strengthened the existing research capacity of MTRD and shaped the future roadmap of the group. The produced technologies and the achieved scientific results are described in great detail in the attached final report.

Potential Impact:
MULTISAUND will have a wide impact at national, regional and European levels. In Turkey, MTRD will be able to lead multimodal and multilingual speech and language research studies benefiting from its increased research capacity and awareness. In the region, MTRD with the support of MULTISAUND will be one of the major players directing the speech and language research activities by participating in joint research studies and establishing research wise collaborations with other research centers, SMEs, and all sorts of stakeholders (e.g. investors, technology provides, and public and private bodies). In Europe, MTRD with its increased potential and operational capability will put tremendous effort to bring speech and language technologies for less-studied/resourced languages up to the level of other well-studied/resourced languages such as English. MTRD will also enable European stakeholders to build new links with Turkish research bodies in the near future.

MULTISAUND aims to foster speech and language based research which might have a strong impact in the socioeconomic development of Europe. Since language is the most natural way of communication, the developed technologies will facilitate communication among nations. These technologies will not only improve the communication quality but also overcome the language barriers and thus bring different nations close to each other. The improvements in language technologies will increase the quality of service where ICT is enabled for an inclusive and participating European community. The social impacts will ultimately create new markets for new ICT-enabled investment opportunities. The entrepreneurs and investors, who are aware of the importance of language technologies, will pay attention to establishing bridges between well-studied and well-resourced languages (such as English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, etc.) and less-resourced and developing language technologies (such as Balkan languages and Turkish). MULTISAUND will enable the development of high-quality systems for less-resourced languages and their integration with mature language solutions for well-resourced languages. It is our hope that the notion of MULTISAUND and its expected impact will yield new collaborations, projects and innovative solutions in relevant speech and language technologies.

Dissemination plays a key role in MULTISAUND since MTRD’s Research and Technological Development strategy is based on becoming renowned and visible both at national, regional, and European levels. In order to achieve this goal, MTRD has drawn an action plan including public presentations of MTRD and MULTISAUND at all levels, active participations in international networking and scientific events, organizing events to attract researchers, SMEs, institutions from relevant sectors, and finally organizing technical visits, brainstorming activities, and Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) meetings. During the project, MTRD has organized 2 workshops (one in conjunction with an international conference of more than 1100 participants), 5 info days in four different regions (Marmara, Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, and Southeastern Anatolia) of Turkey. To disseminate its activities, MTRD has regularly updated the project website with related information and documents. In order to disseminate knowledge about MULTISAUND, MTRD members have participated in several national and international events such as conferences, workshops, and project networking meetings. As can be seen from the number of submitted project proposals, these attempts were very productive in terms of new connections with European research groups, and the visibility and credibility of MTRD. Moreover, MTRD has prepared several brochures and flyers describing the motivation behind MULTISAUND, and MTRD's research topics and activities. These printed materials were handed out during dissemination events and scientific conferences. Finally, MTRD has disseminated its activities through media such as well-known newspapers, articles, and radio programs. In detail information about all activated dissemination events can be found in the attached final report.

The contact details of the project coordinator Mehmet Uğur Doğan:
Postal Address: Multimedia Technologies Research and Development Laboratory, TUBITAK-BILGEM, Gebze, Kocaeli, TURKEY 41470
E-mail: mugur@uekae.tubitak.gov.tr
Phone: 90-262-6481396

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