Meet the expert: Prof. Lynne Bowker

Posted by Lieve Macken on Oct. 25, 2023

We need to talk about machine translation (MT)! 
Using science communication as a tool to improve AI/MT literacy beyond the translation community

Prof. Lynne Bowker is visiting UGent at the end of November 2023. We would like to seize this opportunity to give this expert a forum to a larger audience. All colleagues interested in Machine Translation, AI and science communication are most welcome to join the ‘Meet the Expert’-session on Thursday November 23rd, 10:00-12:00 (in Room A1.04, Abdisstraat 1, 9000 Gent).

The activity will take the form of an interactive workshop where participants are invited to 1) reflect on the need for improved AI/MT literacy in society, and 2) what role they can play in helping to achieve it. The activity will begin with a lecture by the invited expert, who will outline the essentials of how AI and MT tools work, some of the ethical concerns (e.g. Where does the data come from? Is it cheating to use AI tools?), some of the conditions that contribute to misperceptions and misuse of these tools in wider society, as well as some of the consequences. Next, participants will brainstorm some ideas for effective science communication techniques (e.g. metaphors, elevator pitches, infographics) before dividing into smaller groups to flesh out some concrete ideas for a preliminary toolkit to support AI/MT literacy (or a related topic based on their own research) in their communities. Finally, the participants will come back together to share the results of the breakout activity, followed by a final summing up of important take-away messages.

About the expert: Lynne Bowker has a PhD in Language Engineering and was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 in recognition of her research contributions in translation technologies. In 2024, she will take up the Canada Research Chair in Translation, Technologies, and Society. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on translation technologies, as well as books such as Computer-aided Translation Technology (University of Ottawa Press, 2002) and Machine Translation and Global Research (Emerald, 2019). She has delivered keynote speeches at international conferences in the field (e.g., European Association for Machine Translation 2023 conference). Her research has been funded by numerous organizations, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is a member of the EU COST Action: Language in the Human-Machine Era (LITHME), and an active science communicator (e.g. podcasts, blog posts, media interviews, webinars).

Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory.

The event is funded by the Doctoral Schools of Ghent University.
The Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication offers a sandwich lunch after the event.

Lynn BowkerFlanders State of the Art