Language technologies for all: enabling linguistic diversity and multilingualism worldwide

With a view to provide access to information and knowledge to all language users and facilitate their inclusion and participation in building sustainable future, the International conference “Language Technologies for All (LT4All): Enabling Linguistic Diversity and Multilingualism Worldwide” was organised in UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, on 4-6 December 2019.

The conference was held within the framework of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages by UNESCO in close cooperation with the Government of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra (Russian Federation), the European Language Resources Association and in partnership with UNESCO Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) and the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre (Russian Federation).

The event looked at the evolving environment of linguistic diversity and multilingualism, which play an important role in our societies. The conference focused on identifying recommendations on how to harness technology for the preservation, support and promotion of languages, including lesser-used and indigenous languages, as well as on how to increase and facilitate communication between language users.

Conference opening session included greetings and key note addresses made by Mr. Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO Assistant Director-General on communication and information; Ms. Dorothy Gordon, member of the UNESCO IITE Governing Board, Chair of UNESCO IFAP; Ms. Natalia Komarova, Governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra (Russian Federation) and Mr. Adama Samassekou, Founding Executive Secretary of the African Academy of Languages, President of MAAYA Network, Former Minister of Education of Mali. The opening session was moderated by Mr. Evgeny Kuzmin, Vice-Chair of UNESCO IFAP, Chair of the Russian IFAP Committee.

The 3-day conference was composed of keynote talks, oral and poster presentations, panels as well as reports, demonstration of technical systems and innovative applications, and experiences gained in the deployment of technologies in promoting linguistic diversity and multilingualism. Professional programme of the event consisted of more than 100 presentations. Innovative solutions were presented at the exhibition specially installed during the event. The conference content and discussions were structured into three thematic parts:

  • Multilingualism for building knowledge societies (4 December)
  • Applying language technologies for linguistic diversity and multilingualism (5 December)
  • Addressing the digital divide and multilingualism (6 December)