July 12, 2023
Te Hiku tests reo tools for disabled
Te Hiku Media and TalkLink Trust are doing a Te Puni Kokiri-funded feasibility study on whether they can create a synthetic reo Māori voice for use in the devices used by tāngata whaikaha Māori who have difficulties in the production or comprehension of language – such as people with cerebaral palsy.
Te Hiku Media general manager Peter-Lucas Jones says it builds on Te Hiku’s work on natural language processing technology and audio to text conversion.
He says voice technology is usually developed in house by big corporations.
“We know that big corporates don’t work well with Māori communities. We know that Māori language products are bet developed by Māori language speaking communities and led by Māori people. So part of this feasibility study is to find out how we might be able to get some of these products on devices in systems that are used by our whanau whaikaha,” Mr Jones says.
The project already has several prototypes and is working on developing a wahine voice.
Mr Jones says the incorporation of Māori perspectives and mātauranga is crucial to authentically communicate in te reo Māori