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Call for Participation in the UNL Programme

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The UNDL Foundation searches language specialists to provide dictionary entries and grammar rules for the UNL program in their native language. Tasks are distributed upon availability and are carried out in a distance-working environment through a specific web interface. Entries are paid through PayPal according to the expertise. Candidates are not required to have any previous experience in natural language processing but are expected to have some acquaintance with Linguistics and a good knowledge of English. Undergraduate and graduate students of Linguistics, Language Studies and Translation Studies from all over the world are especially welcome.

What is UNL?

The UNL is a knowledge representation language that has been used for several different tasks in natural language processing, such as machine translation, multilingual document generation, text simplification, automatic summarization, information retrieval and semantic reasoning. It was created in 1996 at the United Nations University, in Tokyo, Japan, and has been promoted, since 2001, by the UNDL Foundation, in Geneva, Switzerland, under a mandate of the United Nations. [read more about UNL]

What is the UNL Programme?

The main goal of the UNL Programme is to create the UNL multilingual infrastructure: a network of language resources and processing tools that will enable all peoples to generate and have access to information and knowledge in their own native language. The programme is an effort to facilitate an interchange of cultural values and to contribute to the dialogue among civilisations, to peace and to the development of all nations.

What is expected to be done?

The UNL Programme involves language specialists and computer specialists. Language specialists are expected to create natural language resources (dictionaries, grammars, knowledge bases, example bases, translation memories, etc.) for translating into and from UNL. Computer specialists are expected to create natural language processing systems and modules that use UNL and UNL-based resources as the core technology.
In the current call for participation, the UNDL Foundation is addressing mainly language specialists. They are expected to work with two different dictionaries:
  • The UNL-NL dictionary, a very simple dictionary where the words of UNL are translated into natural languages; and
  • The NL dictionary, a dictionary where the natural language entries created in the previous task are described and classified.
Tasks are distributed upon availability, and are defined by the very user, who reserves the entries to be treated. There is no obligation concerning schedules, and entries not treated are returned automatically to the database 30 days after the reservation. All activities occur at the UNLweb - a user-friendly web-based environment - and may be discontinued or resumed at any time.

What is necessary to participate?

The UNL programme is free and open to individuals and institutions. Anyone may participate, and there are several different ways of participating. As for language specialists, the UNLweb does not require intensive knowledge of UNL or of Computational Linguistics. Nevertheless, it requires some acquaintance with linguistic terminology, with semantic and syntactic formalisms, and very good knowledge of the working language. For the time being, it also requires knowledge of English, which is the language of the interface and of all the documentation. In order to be able to create entries to the dictionaries, language specialists are expected to go through a series of certificates. For the UNL-NL dictionary, candidates must be approved in CLEA250; for the NL dictionary, they must be approved in CLEA500. CLEA250 and CLEA500 are certificates of language engineering aptitude that may be pursued on-line at VALERIE, the Virtual Learning Environment for UNL, which is also located inside the UNLweb. These certificates involve a number of questions about Linguistics and are used to normalize candidates’ technical vocabulary and to teach them how to use the categories and formalisms employed by the UNDL Foundation to create language resources. Both certificates are free and are not time-constrained: they may be pursued by anyone, anywhere, at any time.

What about payment?

Payment depends on the number of entries created and on the expertise inside the UNLweb. Each entry created corresponds to 1 (one) UNLdot, a unit of time and complexity that measures the effort spent in performing UNLweb-based tasks. The rates for the UNLdots depend on your level and are informed in the table below. Payment is done through PayPal in the first week of each month (with relation to the previous month), but payment is done monthly only for those who accumulate more than USD100.00 in a month; otherwise, it is done every three months (beginning of February, May, August and November).
A0 (below 5,000 UNLdots) USD 0.25
A1 (5,001 to 15,000 UNLdots) USD 0.50
A2 (15,000 to 30,000 UNLdots) USD 0.60
B1 (30,001 to 50,000 UNLdots) USD 0.70
B2 (50,001 to 75,000 UNLdots) USD 0.80
C1 (75,001 to 100,000 UNLdots) USD 0.90
C2 (above 100,001 UNLdots) USD 1.00

What if I introduce wrong data?

You are not alone, and the UNDL Foundation will provide assistance all the time. In any case, and in order to avoid problems, every entry or rule is double-checked inside the UNLweb: first by the editor, and then by the reviser. Permissions may be cancelled depending on the users' track history. Users can be demoted if their entries achieve more than 20% of errors in a single assignment. Vandalism and non-compliance with our Terms and Conditions will also be punished.

How much money may I expect to make? Is that a way of living?

This is a freelancer work, and your remuneration will depend highly on the number of entries you do. In the UNLweb, we have all types of contributors. We have people working 30 hours a week and making 5,000 entries per month (around USD1,250.00 for a beginner, and USD5,000.00 for a C2); and we have people working 2 hours a week and making 400 entries per month (around USD100.00 for a beginner, and USD400.00 for a C2). In any case, there are many people working in the project, and the number of entries is not infinite. The UNDL Foundation can not assure that there will be funded projects for all languages all the time.

PayPal does not work in my country. Are there alternatives for receiving the money?

PayPal does not work in some few countries (India and Pakistan, for instance). Users of these countries may still participate in the UNL Programme but they will receive their money only every three months (beginning of February, May, August and November). Unfortunately, the costs of ordinary international money transfers prevent the UNDL Foundation from paying contributors as often as in case of PayPal.

The data belong to whom?

As a result of a collaborative project, the data stored in UNLweb is available under an Attribution Share Alike (CC-BY-SA) Creative Commons license, which means that anyone may use the resources, provided that authors are cited and that the derivative work is released under the same or a similar license.

Who are you?

The UNDL Foundation is a non-profit organization established in Geneva in 2001. Its governing body is a board of twelve internationally renowned scholars and policy makers. The Foundation is also a NGO accredited by the United Nations since 2004. Its mission is to promote reciprocal knowledge exchange among cultures and mutual understanding among peoples through multilingual communication. The Foundation has a special mandate from the United Nations for developing and promoting the UNL to the benefit of all nations. [read more about the UNDL Foundation]

How to start?

Take a look at the article Getting started.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 July 2013 23:03