It is our great pleasure to introduce the Proceedings of the 9th International Conference “Human Language Technologies – the Baltic Perspective” (Baltic HLT 2020), organized by the Centre of Computational Linguistics and the CLARIN-LT centre at Vytautas Magnus University on September 22–23, in Kaunas, Lithuania. This year’s conference was entirely virtual for the first time.
This biennial conference, first organized in 2004, offers researchers a space to share knowledge on recent advances in human language processing for the Baltic languages, as well as promoting interdisciplinary and international cooperation in human language-technology research within and beyond the Baltic states.
In addition to the traditional topics of natural language processing and language technologies, this year’s conference featured a special session on resource and tool development for teaching and learning the less resourced Baltic languages. The keynote talk for this session, given by Elena Volodina (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), served as a good basis for sharing experiences and discussing ideas for further resource development and the application of NLP in language teaching and learning. The talk from keynote speaker Jan Rybicki (Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland) offered an inspiration for the growing community of Digital Humanities, whereas the keynote speaker Daniel Zeman (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic) discussed the current state of Universal Dependencies – a community effort to define cross-linguistically applicable annotation guidelines for morphology and syntax.
We received 42 submissions this year, each of which was evaluated by two reviewers. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the members of the Programme Committee, who worked hard to provide insightful comments. Thirty-four papers were accepted for presentation and publication. Papers in this volume cover speech and text analysis (9 papers), machine translation and natural language understanding (6 papers), tools and resources (14 papers) and language learning resources (5 papers).
We would also like to express our gratitude to the Research Council of Lithuania for funding the conference, Vytautas Magnus University for hosting the event, the European Language Grid for organizing the pre-conference event, the Organizing Committee, our keynote speakers and all participants who, despite all the constraints, attended the virtual conference and contributed to its success.