Language Grid Operation Center
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Operation of Language Grid

The Language Grid is a Service Grid that aims at sharing language services around the world, which connects language resource providers and users using Web service technologies. Open Service Grid Initiative aims at connecting various types of Service Grids that are operated by different organizations, and building an Open Service Grid Infrastructure by federated operation among different organizations across domains. It also defines how to join the Service Grid, how to use and provide services, how to operate and federate the Service Grid and so on. The Language Grid is operated by following the policy of Operating Service Grid defined by the Open Service Grid Initiative.

The Language Grid Kyoto Operation Center is operated by the Department of Social Informatics, Kyoto University. The Language Grid Operator's responsibility is to manage the Language Grid for non-profit use and research use to support and enhance:
  • Activities of NPOs and NGOs for intercultural collaboration.
  • Multilingual communication in local communities and at schools.
  • Research on multilingual communication and/or intercultural collaboration, carried out at universities and research institutions.
In order to meet these objectives, we need to ask many organizations and individuals to provide their own language services. However, intellectual property rights involve several complicated issues. Although every potential language service provider has its own unique circumstances, the situation could be generally described as below.
  • Machine translators are often developed by for-profit companies, and cannot be provided without charge. However, if the application area of the Language Grid does not conflict with an already existing market, we can collaborate with companies and get a substantial discount on prices.
  • Morphological analyzers and other language processing tools are often developed by research institutes or universities. In many cases, research institutes can provide their language services without any charge, if their application can be restricted to non-profit use. For-profit use, however, may require, on a case by case basis, contracts and fees.
  • Multilingual dictionaries and multilingual parallel texts may or may not be free. Even for non-profit use, there are barriers to the distribution of those language services without charge, if the language services are already being sold. Since we are using Web services, however, there is a chance to make those language services available in the Language Grid by setting an upper limit to daily accesses.
  • However, most resource providers are willing to disseminate the fruit of their research and development. They hope that their language services will be widely used and contribute to international society.

Typical Questions about Language Grid Operation

Below we provide answers to typical questions about the Language Grid and its operation.
Q How can the Operator guarantee that the language resources are not used for profit?
Although Commercial Use is possible according to the Agreement, it can be prohibited by the Operator. Language Grid Kyoto Operation Center prohibits any Commercial Use of the Language Grid. Furthermore, Kyoto University, the Operator, concludes Agreements solely with trustable organizations or individuals, those that can contribute to education and research activities. However, we cannot ignore the risk of leakage of IDs and passwords. To prevent this, the Operator monitors the Language Grid continuously using Language Grid Service Manager. Upon detecting resource abuse, the Operator will control access to stop providing the language resources to the offending party.
Q Can the companies' research labs use the Language Grid?
For the Research Use that does not directly contribute to commercial profit, yes they can.
Q Will the operation model that prohibits Commercial Use be too strict to allow propagation of the Language Grid?
Kyoto University's operation model does not allow the commercial use of the Language Grid. It is too much restriction for the future dissemination. Kyoto University's model is for experimental study and transitional. Commercial operation is necessary in the future. The ideal is that the companies operate the Language Grid and will provide reasonable and good quality services to everybody, like the Internet service providers.
Q Is there any chance that Kyoto University will start for-profit operation of the Language Grid?
There is no chance that Kyoto University, a national university, will start for-profit operation of the Language Grid.
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