In the framework of the Information Society, the pervasive character of Human Language Technologies (HLT) and their relevance to practically all the fields of Information Society Technologies (IST) has been widely recognised.
Two issues are considered particularly relevant: the availability of language resources and the methods for the evaluation of resources, technologies, products and applications. Substantial mutual benefits can be expected from addressing these issues through international cooperation.
The term language resources (LR) refers to sets of language data and descriptions in machine readable form, used e.g. for: building and evaluating natural language, speech and multimodal algorithms or systems, software localisation industries and language services, language enabled information and communication services, natural interactivity, knowledge management, electronic commerce, electronic publishing, language studies, subject-area specialists and end users.
Examples of linguistic resources are written, spoken and multimodal corpora and lexica, grammars, terminology databases, multimedia databases, basic software tools for the acquisition, preparation, collection, management, customisation and use of these and other resources.
The relevance of evaluation for Language Technologies is increasingly recognised. This involves assessment of the state-of-the-art for a given technology, measuring the progress achieved within a programme, comparing different approaches to a given problem and choosing the best solution, knowing its advantages and disadvantages, assessment of the availability of technologies for a given application, product benchmarking, and assessment of system usability and user satisfaction.
In the recent past, language engineering and research and development in language technologies have led to important advances in various aspects of written, spoken and multimodal language processing. Although the evaluation paradigm has been studied and used in large national and international programmes, including the US DARPA HLT programme, the EU HLT programme under FP5-IST, the Francophone AUF programme and others, particularly in the localisation industry (LISA and LRC), it is still subject to substantial unsolved basic research problems. The European 6th Framework program (FP6), planned for a start in 2003, includes multilingual and multisensorial communication as one of the major R&D issue, and the evaluation of technologies appears as a specific item in the Integrated Project instrument presentation.
The aim of this Conference is to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art, discuss problems and opportunities, exchange information regarding language resources, their applications, ongoing and planned activities, industrial use and requirements, discuss evaluation methodologies and demonstrate evaluation tools, explore possibilities and promote initiatives for international cooperation in the areas mentioned above.