Estonia Collecting Speech Data to Preserve Its Language 

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM) and the State Information System Agency of Eastern European country Estonia have launched a "Donate Your Speech" campaign to help preserve the Estonian language and develop language technologies for public service applications.

The call went out last month for native and foreign speakers of the Estonian language to help create an open database of 4,000 hours of spoken language that the Estonian government hopes to use to support companies, government institutions, and researchers as they work to create speech recognition, real-time subtitling, and text-to-speech software for government use.

The government also hopes to use the speech samples to preserve the Estonian language, which has decreased in use over the past decade or so due to globalization. Speech samples collected will be transcribed and all personally identifiable information will be removed, the government said on its website.

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