Former President First to Contribute Voice Sample Skip to content

Former President First to Contribute Voice Sample

This morning, former president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir became the first to contribute a voice sample to a project aiming to develop language technology tools for Icelandic. The project hopes to ensure that the Icelandic language remains on equal footing with other languages in the digital age (the project also aims to preserve and protect the Icelandic language itself, and to increase access to essential technologies in the public and private sector).

The project is sponsored by the Icelandic Centre for Language Technology (Almannarómur), which is under the guardianship of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (Iceland’s current president).

As of noon today, anyone can contribute their own voice sample on the website Samrómur. Participants are encouraged to record a brief sound clip that will be used to develop software to aid computers in understanding and speaking Icelandic. Participants are also encouraged to confirm the accuracy of other sound clips in order to improve the quality of the corpus. The website aims to collect a wide variety of anonymous samples.

“Icelandic is a unique language that has changed less than other languages over the past one thousand years. Owing to rapid technological changes, however, the Icelandic language faces a difficult situation. Many of us communicate with computers and other machines in foreign languages. By teaching computers to speak and understand Icelandic we increase the likelihood that the Icelandic language will continue to survive and thrive in the modern world. We have the power.“ (Samrómur.is)

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