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The 2011 ACM Conference on
Computer Supported Cooperative Work
March 19–23, 2011 · Hangzhou, China

T6: Supporting Multilingual Communities

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Duration and schedule



The growing prevalence of distributed collaboration across national borders demands technologies that support globally distributed teams to bridge language and cultural differences. This tutorial will focus on multilingual issues in globally distributed teams and introduce machine translation as a tool to bridge the gaps among members from different language regions. We will address several key challenges, including the complexities of the problems inherent in multilingual groups, the advantages/disadvantages of using machine translation as a communication medium, and methodological issues arising from the research.

Instructor biographies

Toru Ishida, a Professor in Department of Social Informatics at Kyoto University, initiated and led the Language Grid Project from 2006. Using machine translation techniques, the project created an infrastructure to support cross-lingual groups distributed worldwide. So far, the infrastructure bridges more than 90 language services and supports 120 groups from 18 countries. He has also initiated a workshop on Intercultural Collaboration (IWIC), which was recently replaced by an ACM conference (ICIC), and a conference on Culture and Computing.

Naomi Yamashita, a senior researcher at NTT Communication Science Laboratories, is a pioneer in behavioral studies on machine translation mediated communication. Her primary interests lie in the areas of computer-supported cooperative work and computer mediated communication. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, she aims to uncover the nature of human discourse/interaction and to propose guidelines for designing new communication technologies. Her current projects include the development of a video system that facilitates group-to-group distant collaboration and studies on multilingual communication.

Learning objectives

Tutorial program

The tutorial consists of two 90-minute units. It basically takes the style of lecture, but we would like to make it as informal as possible so that we can have free discussions with the attendees during the session.

Intended audience

This tutorial will benefit those who are intending to embark on studies related to multilingual communication/collaboration issues and system developers who wish to become familiar with such issues.

Tutorials Co-chairs

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