THIS Friday marks a yearly highlight for me; the annual Language and Technology in Wales Symposium.

Taking place over Zoom, this event brings together research in the field of Welsh Language Technologies, from Wales and beyond. While many write off technology as a boring tool that is not relevant to them, I am here to challenge that.

The keynote speech will be by Georg Rehm, a principal researcher in the Speech and Language Technology Lab at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence on the topic of “Developing an agenda and a roadmap for achieving full digital language equality in Europe by 2030”.

This links directly to the work our Welsh Government has been undertaking to achieve the goal of one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and so our policy makers from the government, political parties and third sector organisations should be watching with intent.

READ MORE: Technology vital to help more people speak Welsh

The day is packed with the latest in the field, from pioneering speech technologies, to new frameworks to analyze and summarize Welsh text.

There is also material on using machine learning models for compression, automatic text translation and looking at how we can improve our data surrounding the Welsh language.

These are solutions to problems I have heard people complain about. From Welsh being autocorrected in phones to inaccurate machine translations, we need to make the Welsh language as accessible and user-friendly in the 21st century if we are ever to reach the Cymraeg 2050 goal.

Alas, there is a lack of airtime for Welsh language technologies and we need to hear about the field more. We should be proud that in Wales our field of language technologies, with Welsh being a low resource language, helps other languages on their paths to increase the number of speakers and those who live in those languages.

READ MORE: Welsh language learning boost from Duolingo

I agree with Alun Davies and Carwyn Jones with their recent comments that they were “very, very, very disappointed with the attitude of the government as a whole” at the time of launch of the Cymraeg 2050 strategy.

This still seems to be the case the current Labour Welsh Government, in co-operation with Plaid Cymru, are not taking the pressing need for better Welsh language technology seriously.

Jeremy Miles is always quick to defend the government’s actions, explaining that this government is doing a lot to promote and grow the Welsh language but I fail to see how this is manifesting in the field of technology.

When it comes to Welsh language technology projects, the Welsh government needs to inform itself on what Wales needs and how much it should cost.

READ MORE: New Welsh education plan could see three new all-through schools in Powys

Recently there has been money pledged to support health and social care with dementia trials running bilingually but without the technical bilingual structures to support this, we will not be able to advance most of our fields.

Technology and the way we interact with it is integral to the way we live so we need to ensure we can do that efficiently in a bilingual way.

Let's get Wales excited about bilingual technology and make sure that all our sectors understand the field, why its is important and how we are a key foundation to Wales' future.

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