MEDAR – University of Copenhagen


The goal of the MEDAR project was to establish a network of partner centres of best practice in Arabic language and speech processing with a view to creating a longer term Cooperation Roadmap for the region.

The project was supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme and runs from February 1, 2008 until August 1, 2010. CST was the coordinator of the project.

Summary of the project

MEDAR addressed International Cooperation with the Arabic region on Speech and Language Technologies. MEDAR was structured around 3 pillars, 4 main objectives, and a number of instruments.

The 3 pillars were 1) producing a knowledge base on Human Language Technology (HLT) players, existing language resources (LRs) and processing tools, activities and products for Arabic, 2) designing a strong cooperation roadmap between EU and Arabic countries, within the Arabic countries, and between academia and industry and 3) focusing on Machine Translation (MT) and Multilingual Information Retrieval (MLIR) for which required technology components, LRs, benchmarking methodologies was identified.

The 4 objectives were 1) consolidating a network of players in all areas of HLT, 2) developing the Cooperation Roadmap based on a clear picture of the foreseeable technological trends, market potentials, and cooperation possibilities, 3) Updating the Basic Language Resource Kit: the minimum set of resources and tools necessary for carrying out research and training on LRs and HLT, with a focus on MT and MLIR and 4) supporting the development of tools and resources, in particular MT and MLIR on the basis of partners technologies and open source code (e.g. Statistical MT, MLIR, and speech recognition) and the framework for their benchmarking.

A variety of instruments was used to achieve the objectives: Surveys was conducted as well as market analysis. Partners' background was exploited to identify the best multilingual open-source tools to customize to Arabic. Expertise on evaluation within the consortium was created the right benchmarking framework. Key achievements was highlighted for each strategic partnership in addition to the actions to be taken. Human resources was at the heart of our recommendations. Information was disseminated through e.g. website and e-newsletter, and a major conference on LRs, tools, and Evaluation for Arabic.

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