Original Articles

Porting an English Spoken Dialogue System to Xhosa and Zulu

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 25, issue 2, 2005, pages: 101–110
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2005.10587253
Author(s): Thembekile MalazaCentre for Language and Speech Technology,, Luvuyo MartinsCentre for Language and Speech Technology,, Justus RouxCentre for Language and Speech Technology,, Thomas NieslerDepartment of Electronic Engineering,

Abstract

The development of Xhosa and Zulu spoken dialogue systems, based on a working English prototype, is described. While direct translations of the system prompts and recognition grammars from English to Xhosa and Zulu, respectively, were appropriate in some cases, language- and culturally-specific factors often needed to be taken into account to yield an effective dialogue in the target language. This paper identifies the most important issues that were encountered in porting the dialogue system from English to Xhosa and Zulu. Issues such as code mixing, tone and politeness receive attention. The performances of the final Xhosa and Zulu prototypes are compared with the performance of the English prototype.

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