Work partially funded by K4A has won the inaugural 2021 Wikimedia Foundation Research Award of the Year with the paper “Participatory Research for Low-resourced Machine Translation: A Case Study in African Languages” and the Masakhane Community
This paper and the Masakhane community have attempted to fundamentally change how we approach the challenge of “low-resourced languages” in Africa via a set of projects funded by K4A, with the support of UNESCO, IDRC, and GIZ. The research describes a novel approach for participatory research around machine translation for African languages. The authors show how this approach can overcome the challenges these languages face to join the Web and some of the technologies other languages benefit from today.
The work of the authors and the community is an inspiring example of work towards Knowledge Equity, one of the two main pillars of the 2030 Wikimedia Movement Strategy. “As a social movement, we will focus our efforts on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege. We will welcome people from every background to build strong and diverse communities. We will break down the social, political, and technical barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge.”
We cannot think of a better or more inspiring example of a project we have been involved in the last couple of years.