In Pittsburgh, the Jewish Family & Children's Service (JFCS) organization provides support to 200 Karen people from Burma who are starting their lives in the United States. One of the biggest challenges these refugees face is the language barrier. The refugees do not speak English and some are illiterate in their own language.
Without a translator, communication between JFCS staff and the refugees becomes very difficult especially when it comes to complicated matters such as transportation, health care or housing.
Our group of one faculty and four students in LTI proposes an English-Karen text-to-speech machine translation project. The goal of the project is to assist Karen refugees and JFCS by providing an English-Karen text-to-speech translation system. As an individual project, I am responsible for the English text to Karen text translation component. The project gives me a chance to test the existing machine translation technique especially word segmentation to a new language with limited resources.