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Recent News

CBC interviews NLP technologies expert on automated translation of tweets following Environment Canada’s announcement that weather warnings cannot be tweeted due to language laws

Timely public notification of emergencies and warnings is one of the most important tasks of the Government of Canada when it comes to public safety. Social media platforms such as Twitter are a convenient way to communicate and issue warnings.
Environment Canada has stated that weather alerts cannot be tweeted because official bilingualism in Canada has proved to be a barrier to issuing warning tweets. For this reason, Ottawa is working on software but it's not ready yet, and may take over one year to complete.
Dr. Atefeh Farzindar, CEO of NLP Technologies and Adjunct Professor at the Université de Montréal, was surprised to hear this because NLP has been providing automated translation solutions for more than one year. TRANSLI™, NLP’s system, can help alert Canadians of imminent danger and save lives. CBC Radio interviewed Dr. Farzindar, a technology expert.

In 2013, the issue of automating tweets from government agencies was examined by NLP Technologies in collaboration with the Université de Montréal, and the findings were published in a scholarly paper presented at the Workshop on Language in Social Media, held in June in Atlanta, Georgia.

Recently, NLP and the Université de Montréal presented an article on the automatic translation of tweets and hashtags at the 2014 LREC Conference, held on May 26-31, in Reykjavik, Iceland.  “We were surprised to hear that the Environment Canada tornado tweets were stalled by language laws,” declared Dr. Farzindar.

NLP Technologies provides translation solutions for tweets that could be adopted by Environment Canada and all Canadian government agencies.

“When it comes to matters of public safety and emergency preparedness, government agencies are responsible for protecting the public.  Automated tweet translations by NLP could be used by different Canadian departments such as Health Canada, Environment Canada, Public Safety Canada and Canada Border Services,” she added.
Translation of tweets involves many challenges: a tweet is a stream of text that includes words, URLs, hashtags, images and videos, all in less than 140 characters. But NLP Technologies has been able to solve these problems, and delays are no longer an excuse.

Canada should encourage partnerships between industry and government research centers.