Microsoft launches Irish spell checker

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Microsoft launches Irish spell checker

Message par drouizig » jeu. avr. 19, 2007 3:15 pm

Microsoft launches Irish spell checker
Monday, February 03 2003
by Matthew Clark

Microsoft has launched its first ever spell-checking application for the Irish language.

The new application, which Microsoft has licensed from start-up company Carlow Answers, was designed in association with Trinity College Dublin and the Linguistics Institute of Ireland. The product, which operates in a fashion similar to any other spell checker, can be run through Office XP applications and, according to the groups, is aimed at all users of the Irish language, "from learners and occasional users to academics and professionals." The add-on is available free of charge from Microsoft Ireland's Web site.

Commenting on the launch, Minister for Education and Science Noel Dempsey, TD, thanked Microsoft Ireland, the Linguistics Institute of Ireland (ITE/Institiuid Teangeolaiochta Eireann) and Trinity College, noting that the product could not have been made possible without the input of all three groups.

"I am particularly pleased that the Linguistics Institute of Ireland, who provide research and development services concerning linguistics to my department, were able to play a major part in this project," Minister Dempsey said, pointing out that the work over the last few years on the Irish National Corpus is the foundation for the spell checker's database.

A corpus is a collection of text-based linguistic data, which can be used to describe a language and do research into linguistics. The Irish language corpus, which includes about 15 million words, has been under development since 1996 under the EU-funded PAROLE project. It has been compiled from various texts, including articles from newspapers, poetry, novels, books for children, parliamentary acts, reports and school texts.

"This is a unique step in the growth of the Irish language in this country," said Donncha O Croinin of ITE/Linguistics Institute of Ireland. "We hope that its use and feedback from users will support the development of a wider range of computer applications for speakers and writers of Irish."

For its part, Microsoft said that the completion of the product highlighted the company's commitment to Ireland, at both a technical and cultural level. "Technically, we believe this represents a major advance in the design of this type of application," commented Ian Taylor, chief software architect, Microsoft Ireland.

The product has been launched after about six years of research in order to create efficient algorithms over compact data structures for large amounts of information. The plan to develop the Irish Spell Checker arose in 1999 when Microsoft met with representatives of the computer science department in Trinity College Dublin and of the Linguistics Institute of Ireland to discuss the development of the software.

Following initial discussions, Microsoft passed the testkit and the Application Programming Interface (API) Specification to Trinity College and to Michael Burke, the computer science PhD student who was in charge of the development of the Irish Spell Checker. Throughout the development process, Microsoft provided technical support on the product's design and tested it on an ongoing basis. Microsoft has now licensed the application from Burke's company, Carlow Answers.

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