“We can hardly imagine communication without internet. Yet millions of people are excluded from the digital society”

Leen Sevens is a postdoctoral researcher in computational linguistics at KU Leuven. She develops technologies that contribute to the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

``We can hardly imagine communication without internet. Yet millions of people are excluded from the digital society``
Leen Sevens is part of the “Able to Include” project. The “Text2Picto” application has been selected for the Flemish PhD cup. Here you can read the English translation of an interview she gave about her work.

Bio

Leen Sevens (born 1992) is a postdoctoral researcher in computational linguistics at KU Leuven. By using linguistic knowledge and techniques from artificial intelligence, such as automatic machine translation and natural language generation, she develops technologies that contribute to the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

 

Doctorate in short

“I developed a translation system that automatically converts text into pictograms and vice versa for people with intellectual disabilities. That way they can become an active part of today’s digital society.”

 

Why is your doctorate important?

“In recent years, the internet has played a central role in building social networks. But many people with intellectual disabilities run the risk of being excluded, because written text is often too difficult for them. The Picto translation system offers a solution to this. Picto is the first icon-based translation system that can be used in combination with e-mail, chat and existing social media platforms. ”

 

Why do you want to inform the public about your research?

“Communication without the Internet. Can you imagine that? Yet millions of people are being excluded from the digital society. That is why it is important to come up with solutions for them. In this way I want to make my (open-source) technologies known to the big audience.”

 

You can read the original version of this interview in Dutch here.

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