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This retreat will foster a dialogue between computer scientists working on Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) specifically neural networks, native speakers of endangered languages, and linguists doing research on endangered languages to address the issue of the “bottleneck” of language transcription and discuss the use of technology in the transcription of language data.

Tools and technologies to automate and expedite the transcription and translation of oral texts from endangered languages are urgently needed. Most researchers working with endangered languages process their materials manually. Some researchers estimate that it takes roughly from 1 to 50 hours to prepare one hour of spoken text manually.

ASR technologies can significantly reduce the workload of transcribing large collections of speech recordings in these lesser-studied languages. Automating the process will enable the transcriber to become more of an editor, accelerating the overall transcription process. Implementation of ASR technologies could free up time for linguists, language activists, and speakers to create materials for teaching and learning the language, rather than spending countless hours transcribing.

The retreat is sponsored by William H. Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College, Anthropology, and Linguistic programs.

Important dates

Thursday, July 12- Saturday, July 14, 2018


  • Hilaria Cruz, Neukom Fellow, Dartmouth College
  • Joseph Waring 18, Dartmouth College
  • Oliver Adams, The Johns Hopkins Center for Language and Speech Processing

Retreat Program (subject to change)

Time Thursday








8:00-8:45 am Guests Travel to Quechee, VT Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
9:00-10:00 am Introductions Brainstorming Final Goodbye
11:00-12:00 pm Welcome & Presentations: Hilaria Cruz
12:00-1:00 pm Lunch Lunch Lunch for Remaining Guests
1:00-2:00 pm Continue Presentations


Workshop in ASR: TBD


Guests Travel Home
2:00-3:00 pm
3:00-4:00 pm Workshop: Drafting / Publication
4:00-5:00 pm Canoeing Outing: Quechee Animal Sanctuary


5:00-6:00 pm
6:00-7:00 pm Arrival Dinner Dinner
7:00-8:00 pm Happy Hour




8:00-9:00 pm Bonfire
9:00-10 pm Return Home Return Home Return Home


Name Occupation Institution
Sol Arriéchiga Translator, editor Editorial Hormiguero, Mexico
Claire Bowern Linguist Yale University
Shobhana Chelliah Linguist University of North Texas
Emiliana Cruz Linguistic anthropologist CIESAS, Mexico
Dolly Goldenberg Linguist Yale University
Nestor Green Linguist CIESAS, Mexico
Carlos Hernandez Mena Computer scientist UNAM, Mexico
Zach Lin Computer scientist Carnegie Mellon
Manuel Mager Computer scientist UNAM, Mexico
Laura McPhearson Linguist Dartmouth College
Jaime Pérez Linguist University of Texas Austin
Shruti Rijhwani Computer scientist Carnegie Mellon


The retreat will take place in a large home in Quechee, VT.,_Vermont


Hilaria Cruz at