Microsoft and the Innovation Agency – ADI – today sign a contract under the Incentive System for the Creation of Research and Technological Development Centers in the Business Sector, NITEC. This measure concludes the third point of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in February, between Microsoft and the Portuguese State.
Financed by the Incentive Program for the Modernization of the Economy, the agreement aims to co-finance the costs of Research and Development (R&D) projects for the Spoken Portuguese Language, inserted in the Microsoft Center for Language Development (MLDC).
The projects aim to create linguistic resources and a platform for the computational treatment of speech in the national language, which «allows the development and adaptation of software with person-machine interaction using speech, across the entire range of Microsoft products (server, client, mobility and entertainment systems) «, says the company in a statement.
The agreement shows the importance that the ID applied to the Portuguese language has, with the two entities, «as a factor of social and economic development and improvement of the citizenship effort, insofar as it enhances digital inclusion and the accessibility of all to technologies. information and communication «.
Within the terms of the contract, ADI will finance the MLDC at 178,000 euros over the next 28 months, supporting the six current national R&D projects to which the cent is focused – VoxCorp, TranSpeech, Euro PT Connect, SpeechApps, Lexicon -so as the start of two new projects.
Future applicationsRichard Sprague, Group Program Manager of the Product Development Group responsible for Speech at Microsoft in Redmond believes that signing the contract will help expand MLDC’s activities which will be important for «developing world-class speech components», being » highly beneficial the presence of development teams, on the ground, in the country of the speaking language «.
For Miguel Sales Dias, director of the Microsoft Center for the Development of Language, the support of ADI is the recognition of a work that has been developed and that «aims at the creation of a nucleus of research and technological development, which in the medium / long term intends to develop in Portugal the essential computer components and resources of the spoken Portuguese language, including recognition and synthesis «.
The same official says that work is being carried out to minimize the number of infoeexluded, especially those who have «visual, hearing or cognitive impairments», as well as «people with mobility limitations» or those who are more apt to forms «human-computer interaction».
The words of Miguel Sales Dias, published in the press release, demonstrate expectations that within a year or two Microsoft products, or partner applications, will appear on the market, «the first components of speech recognition and synthesis developed in Portugal. «
It should be noted that MLDC is one of the four Microsoft Development Centers implemented in Europe, and the first outside the United States, dedicated to local language development.
Presented in November last year, this center has the long-term objective of developing key language components for the EMEA region, starting with the national language, for Microsoft platforms and products.
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