Detect, normalize and generate Finnish dialects

Finnish dialects create a lot of trouble when interacting with computers, since it is impossible to speak a language without speaking in a dialect of some sort. Mika Hämäläinen, Niko Partanen, Khalid Alnajjar and Jack Rueter from our language technology team have created software that can automatically detect, normalize and generate Finnish dialects. Their research made it to the news on our university website.

Donate spoken language data in Finnish and Swedish

The Language Bank of Finland and the Swedish Literary Society in Finland are collecting Finland-Swedish speech data (https://doneraprat.fi)  (see YLE article with video: Vill du att röststyrning ska fungera på finlandssvenska? Kom med och donera prat [Do ​​you want voice control to work in Finland-Swedish? Come and donate speech]). Note that the campaign for collecting spoken Finnish also continues (https://lahjoitapuhetta.fi/).

If you wish to know how the database may affect everyday life and how it can be used in research, listen to the YLE podcast “Second Last Word” (YLE pod: Så här lär sig din dammsugare finlandssvensk dialekt [How your vacuum cleaner learns Finnish-Swedish dialect] and YLE article: Pratande kylskåp och smarta glasögon hjälper dig handla mat – det här är den röststyrda framtiden [Talking refrigerators and smart glasses help you buy food – this is the voice-controlled future]).

Open Position: 2-year PostDoc in ERC project FoTran

We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher for a two-year appointment starting on September 1, 2021 at the latest as part of the ERC project FoTran (Found in Translation).
Deadline: May 31, 2021
The FoTran project (http://www.helsinki.fi/fotran) focuses on cross-lingual sentence representation learning and multilingual neural machine translation. The goal is to learn highly abstract language-agnostic semantic representations from massively parallel data sets and we emphasize extrinsic evaluations (using various downstream tasks) and intrinsic assessment of the models to understand and interpret neural models and distributed representations. The position opened in this call is meant to further strengthen our work on interpretability and explainability of multilingual neural language and translation models and we are seeking for strong candidates with a background in computational linguistics or related fields.
More information about the position and application procedures can be found here:
We welcome applications until May 31, 2021 with the following required attachments:

  • Motivation letter including ideas for project-related research work (1-4 pages)
  • A curriculum vitae
  • List of publications
  • The degree certificate of the PhD degree (or documentation of public defence permission)
  • Two names of referees who would be available to provide references on demand

Recommendation letter(s) from previous supervisors or employers can optionally also be attached to the application.
Further information: Jörg Tiedemann (jorg.tiedemann AT helsinki DOT fi)

Our ELG project OPUS-MT is mentioned in the IEEE Spectrum post on machine translation within the European Language Grid:

Another early-stage project is coming from Jörg Tiedemann at the University of Helsinki, who is working with colleagues to develop open translation models for the Grid. These models use deep neural networks—layered software architectures that implement complex mathematical functions—to map text into numeric representations. Using data sets to train the models to find the best ways to solve problems takes a lot of computing power and is expensive. Making the models available for re-use will help developers build tools for low-density languages. “Minority languages get too little attention because they are not commercially interesting,” Tiedemann says. “This gap needs to be closed.”

22 open positions at FCAI

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for an interesting postdoc, research fellow or PhD position?

The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI offers a possibility for 22 new researchers to join a unique research community with an attractive joint mission. Especially interesting for NLP researchers: Topic 11: Interactive AI using multimodal communication

FCAI welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds, and qualified female candidates are explicitly encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is October 5, 2020 (midnight UTC+02:00). Read more and apply here: https://fcai.fi/we-are-hiring