MUST – multimodal and multilingual services for small mobile terminals
Project EURESCOM P1104
Malek Boualem & al.
Summary of the paper :
Life would be much easier, and the opportunities for new services would be enormous, if we were able to interact with automatic devices in the same way as with intelligent fellow human beings. Therefore, all major com puter and software companies (including IBM, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard, to name just the biggest ones) invest substantial resources in R&D that is aimed towards making human-computer interaction more humanlike and consequently more user friendly. When we talk to a friend or an assistant we
do not only convey information through the formal meaning of words. There may be essential information carried by the tone of voice and facial expression, and we use our hands and perhaps also a pencil or a pen to gesture, point, sketch or write. Thus, face-to-face communication is multimodal, in that we use all human senses –or communication modes- to convey and process information. Because of the advantages of multimodal interaction it seems only natural to assume that human-computer interaction would also become more efficient and easier, and eventually more ‘natural’ if it could be made multimodal. In this brochure we will show that there is yet another reason for developing multimodal human-computer interfaces. In the increasingly more mobile society of the 21st century we will often find ourselves in a situation where we do not have a full-size keyboard and screen available. In these situations we will have to make do with communication channels that are less dependent on bulky equipment. Speech and pen are obvious examples. In this brochure we will provide information on how multimodal interaction can enlarge the functionality of small mobile devices. Thinking about human-computer interaction in terms of a conversation with a friend or assistant is fundamentally different from the desktop metaphor in Windows interfaces. One difference that catches the eye immediately is the role of language. The more interactions are in the form of some form of dialogue or conversation, the more it becomes important that we are able to use a language that we really feel comfortable with. For the large majority of the population – and, therefore, of the future customers – that language will be the mother tongue. Therefore, many future ‘conversational’ services will be multilingual. In this brochure we will touch upon multilinguality in the context of multimodal services.