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PanAfriL10n - PanAfrLoc - MerakaInstitute

Meraka Institute

The CSIR Meraka Institute (formerly Meraka Institute (African Advanced Institute for Information & Communication Technology)) is a South African ICT? research entity. It is organized under the South African CSIR.

Some of Menaka's work relates to localisation and human language technology (HLT).

Website: https://www.csir.co.za/csir-meraka-institute

Descriptions

Current

"The CSIR Meraka Institute conducts research, development and innovation (RDI) in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. In response to the National Development Plan, CSIR Meraka Institute focuses on shaping South Africa’s digital future. Through its cross-cutting research, development and innovation interventions, the unit contributes to generating new knowledge for South Africa’s digital economy and contributes to attaining a digital advantage for the country." https://www.csir.co.za/csir-meraka-institute (accessed 2019-7-21)

Past

"The Meraka Institute is a large-scale intervention in the information and communications technology space to address challenges in both the first economy (well developed and integrated with the global economy) and the second economy (characterised by informal economic activity and poverty). The Institute is supported by the Departments of Communication and of Science and Technology, and managed by the CSIR [Council for Scientific and Industrial Research]." http://www.csir.co.za/plsql/ptl0002/PTL0002_PGE005_DIVISIONS?DIVISION_NO=1060001 (archived page from 2007-4-6)

"The major objective of the Meraka Institute is to facilitate national economic and social development through human capital development and needs-based research and innovation, leading to products and services based on Information and Communication Technology." http://www.meraka.org.za/ (archived page from 2007-4-21)

Per the same page, Mereka also "supports regional initiatives under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), collaborating with ICT organisations through staff and student exchange, and the establishment of co-operative programmes."

Actions or orientations mentioning L10n & HLT

Human Language Technologies (HLT)

From the webpage at https://www.csir.co.za/csir-meraka-institute (accessed 2019-7-21):
"The CSIR solves communication challenges in South Africa’s multilingual context by researching and building digital language resources and speech technologies in the country’s 11 official languages. We provide text-to-speech, automatic speech recognition and human language analytics to support Government service delivery, provide access to information and facilitate smarter decision-making."

From the webpage at http://www.meraka.org.za/humanLanguage.htm (archived page from 2007-4-15):
"Human Language Technology (HLT) makes it easier for people to interact with machines. This can benefit a wide range of people - from illiterate farmers in remote villages who want to obtain relevant medical information over a cellphone, to scientists in state-of-the-art laboratories who want to focus on problem-solving with computers."

The HLT page that was the source of the above (2007) quote mentions that they "consciously support language diversity."

Open Source Centre (OSC)

From the webpage at http://floss.meraka.org.za/ (archived page from 2007-4-3):
"The Open Source Centre (OSC), has been established to amplify the beneficial impact of FLOSS across all sectors of society (public, private, civil). ..."
"The Centre was proposed as a substantial enabling initiative to dramatically accelerate the successful adoption of FLOSS, and proactively initiate actions essential for realising the benefits and making the envisaged impact. ..."
"A longer term and broader goal is to facilitate and catalyse the process of changing the dominant culture from one of passive consumer of proprietary solutions, developed in the first world, to one of proactive producer of appropriate innovative solutions, tailored to the local needs. This will result in a Southern Africa based digital commons (Meraka) - an enabler for localised FLOSS, open content and related resources."

International collaboration

Meraka had a collaboration with LLACAN on speech synthesis? of Sango. [need more info]

Meaning of "meraka"

"'Meraka' is a Sotho term used in Lesotho, South Africa and Botswana for common grazing land. People may engage in private or communal productive activity o­n this land, but the land itself is kept for the common good." "The meaning of 'Meraka'" page at www.meraka.org.za (archived page from 2004-6-9)

The adoption of this term apparently reflects the institute's origins as the "CSIR Open Source Centre."


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