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BerbaTek project’s results and demos.

BerbaTek is a recently finished strategic research project with a duration of three years (2009-2011) funded by the Industry Department of the Basque Government.In order to carry out the project, a consortium was created which was made up of the Elhuyar Foundation, the IXA and Aholab research groups of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, the technology centre Vicomtech and the foundation Tecnalia Research & Innovation.


Yesterday, the results of this project were presented in a press conference with representatives of the Basque Government. Throughout the BerbaTek project we have created several language tools, resources and some demos to show the potential of the integration of language, voice and multimedia technologies, when it comes to creating applications for the areas that make up the languages industry, in other words, for translation, contents and teaching. Three demos were presented in the press conference:

  • Automatic dubbing demo. The automatic dubbing of films is a difficult challenge for the moment (different voices, colloquial language, different speeds), but for some types of documentaries (single speaker, voice-over, coordination of the lips not necessary or unimportant ) we’ve done a demo that performs satisfactorily. Given a documentary in Spanish and its transcription (which can be obtained automatically by means of any of the dictation programs for Spanish in the market), VicomtechIK4’s temporal alignment technology creates a subtitles file, a transcription with time marks for the beginning and end of each sentence. Then, the Matxin MT system, developed by the IXA group, automatically translates the subtitles into Basque, and Aholab’s text-to-speech technology obtains the synchronized voice. We have successfully applied this demo to the single-speaker sections of the television program Teknopolis produced by Elhuyar. This demo can be seen at work here.
  • Semantic multimedia search engine for science and technology content. This search engine is based on WNTerm, an ontology specialized in science and technology wich was created by Elhuyar and IXA. It is a network where scientific and technological terms are semantically related to each other, with subclasses, synonyms, etc. A new augmented version will be presented next month.
  • Personal teacher for language learning. For the field of education, we have created a demo of a personal tutor for language learning. The tutor is a 3D avatar developed by Vicomtech-IK4 that shows emotions, can speak Basque and can understand what is said in Basque, using Aholab‘s technology. The tutor assists us in various tasks: we can do grammar exercises (verb conjugation, word inflection) and reading comprehension exercises (fill in gaps in a text, choosing from several options) that are created automatically from texts using technology from IXA; we can evaluate our pronunciation, with Aholab technology; or it helps us when writing texts, with inflection of words, writing of numbers or querying dictionaries, by means of technology from IXA and Elhuyar. By the moment this demo works in local mode, but it will beavailable online by next spring.

The pieces of news has been received by media today:

Further information about this project can be found at Berbatek project’s website.

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