Future Directions in Technological Support for Language Documentation


  • Daan van Esch Google
  • Ben Foley University of Queensland, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language
  • Nay San Stanford University, Australian National University, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language




To reduce the annotation burden placed on linguistic fieldworkers, freeing up time for deeper linguistic analysis and descriptive work, the language documentation community has been working with machine learning researchers to investigate what assistive role technology can play, with promising early results. This paper describes a number of potential follow-up technical projects that we believe would be worthwhile and straightforward to do. We provide examples of the annotation tasks for computer scientists; descriptions of the technological challenges involved and the estimated level of complexity; and pointers to relevant literature. We hope providing a clear overview of what the needs are and what annotation challenges exist will help facilitate the dialogue and collaboration between computer scientists and fieldwork linguists.