Alain Désilets


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The Indigenous Languages Technology project at NRC Canada: An empowerment-oriented approach to developing language software
Roland Kuhn | Fineen Davis | Alain Désilets | Eric Joanis | Anna Kazantseva | Rebecca Knowles | Patrick Littell | Delaney Lothian | Aidan Pine | Caroline Running Wolf | Eddie Santos | Darlene Stewart | Gilles Boulianne | Vishwa Gupta | Brian Maracle Owennatékha | Akwiratékha’ Martin | Christopher Cox | Marie-Odile Junker | Olivia Sammons | Delasie Torkornoo | Nathan Thanyehténhas Brinklow | Sara Child | Benoît Farley | David Huggins-Daines | Daisy Rosenblum | Heather Souter
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

This paper surveys the first, three-year phase of a project at the National Research Council of Canada that is developing software to assist Indigenous communities in Canada in preserving their languages and extending their use. The project aimed to work within the empowerment paradigm, where collaboration with communities and fulfillment of their goals is central. Since many of the technologies we developed were in response to community needs, the project ended up as a collection of diverse subprojects, including the creation of a sophisticated framework for building verb conjugators for highly inflectional polysynthetic languages (such as Kanyen’kéha, in the Iroquoian language family), release of what is probably the largest available corpus of sentences in a polysynthetic language (Inuktut) aligned with English sentences and experiments with machine translation (MT) systems trained on this corpus, free online services based on automatic speech recognition (ASR) for easing the transcription bottleneck for recordings of speech in Indigenous languages (and other languages), software for implementing text prediction and read-along audiobooks for Indigenous languages, and several other subprojects.


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Using First and Second Language Models to Correct Preposition Errors in Second Language Authoring
Matthieu Hermet | Alain Désilets
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications


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Using the Web as a Linguistic Resource to Automatically Correct Lexico-Syntactic Errors
Matthieu Hermet | Alain Désilets | Stan Szpakowicz
Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'08)

This paper presents an algorithm for correcting language errors typical of second-language learners. We focus on preposition errors, which are very common among second-language learners but are not addressed well by current commercial grammar correctors and editing aids. The algorithm takes as input a sentence containing a preposition error (and possibly other errors as well), and outputs the correct preposition for that particular sentence context. We use a two-phase hybrid rule-based and statistical approach. In the first phase, rule-based processing is used to generate a short expression that captures the context of use of the preposition in the input sentence. In the second phase, Web searches are used to evaluate the frequency of this expression, when alternative prepositions are used instead of the original one. We tested this algorithm on a corpus of 133 French sentences written by intermediate second-language learners, and found that it could address 69.9% of those cases. In contrast, we found that the best French grammar and spell checker currently on the market, Antidote, addressed only 3% of those cases. We also showed that performance degrades gracefully when using a corpus of frequent n-grams to evaluate frequencies.


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Semantic Similarity for Detecting Recognition Errors in Automatic Speech Transcripts
Diana Inkpen | Alain Désilets
Proceedings of Human Language Technology Conference and Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing