The main goal of this project was to collaborate with indigenous languages interpreters to co-design a Conversational Agent (CA) which could aid them to collectively generate data that: 1) could help them make visible the numerous problems and barriers they face working as interpreters, particularly within Mexico's justice system and; 2) increase their agency and decision-making power on issues related to the interpretation, such as in public policy. In this sense, the project intended to address the existing need to map the current state of indigenous languages interpretation in Mexico, to provide data that, for example, could help assess existing public policies related to interpretation and access to justice for indigenous Nations, or that could help identify indigenous languages and variants of such languages in need of certified interpreters.
Central to the project was the development of a methodology to align the system and the research process, in all its stages, with the principles promoted by the project, which are: gender perspective, co-design, shared benefits, digital autonomy and data sovereignty. Important elements of this methodology included a series of workshops with indigenous language interpreters, the creation of a Research Protocol and Collaboration Agreements and the development of strategies to incorporate the CARE Principles for indigenous data management into the project.
In this context, some of the research questions that motivated the work include:
How to develop co-design mechanisms to enable the inclusion of the end-users in all stages of the life cycle of an AI system?
How to align technological development with the principles of gender perspective, collaboration, co-design, digital autonomy
and data sovereignty?
Which factors are important to assess the feasibility of developing an AI solution based on the aforementioned principles? How to incorporate Feminist theory and Feminist practices into AI development?
Hamlet Antonio Garcia Zúñiga, Adviser
Researcher in the Linguistics Section of the Yucatan Center of National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). He has worked on various interpretation and translation projects in the Mayan language in the Yucatan peninsula.
Gaby León Ortiz, Community Link
Co-coordinator of interpretation and translation of indigenous languages at the Indigenous Professional Center for Counseling, Defense and Translation A.C (CEPIADET). Indigenous interpreter and translator, member of the community of Santa María Yucunicoco, speaker of the Mixtec language, a variant of the High West.
Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz, Co-leader
Researcher at Research Institute of Applied Mathematics and in Systems (IIMAS), National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Specialized in Natural Language Processing, who has worked to develop translators for indigenous languages.
Sofía Trejo, Co-leader
Researcher at Barcelona's Supercomputing Centre (BSC-CNS). Specialized in the ethical, legal, social, economic and cultural aspects of Artificial Intelligence.