Roland Kuhn


Roles and responsibilities

I am a Principal Research Officer (PRO) at NRC. I am also currently leader of the Indigenous Languages Technology project and of the Portage machine translation project. My role is to ensure that these projects produce a steady stream of successful outcomes.

Current research and/or projects

I am currently most deeply involved in creating software to help revitalize the Indigenous languages of Canada. This includes educational software (e.g., for teaching verb paradigms in polysynthetic languages), machine translation into and from Inuktitut, and audio indexing of sound files containing speech in Indigenous languages.

Research and/or project statements

  • Since 2004, the Portage project has been carrying out research into machine translation between human languages (e.g., between English and French, from Arabic and Chinese into English, etc).
  • Since 2017, the Indigenous Languages Technology project has been collaborating with Indigenous communities to help build software for revitalizing Indigenous languages.


Honours B. Sc., Mathematics and Biology, University of Toronto, 1981
M.Sc., Theoretical Biology, University of Chicago, 1984
Ph.D, Computer Science, McGill University, 1993.

Professional activities/interests

  • From 1985-2004, I was a researcher in automatic speech recognition, at McGill University, the Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montreal, and Panasonic Speech Technology Laboratory.
  • Since 2004, I have been carrying out research into machine translation.
  • More recently, since 2017, I have managed a project for creating software to help revitalize the Indigenous languages of Canada.
  • At present (August 2018), I have an H-index of 40 according to Google Scholar.


Association for Computational Linguistics


Honeywell Futurist Prize (1984)



Inventions and patents

I have 31 patents listed on the US Patent Office (USPTO) web site, most of them in the areas of speech technology and machine translation.

Key publications

  • "A cache-based natural language model for speech recognition", R. Kuhn & R. De Mori, 1990 (664 citations as of August 2018)
  • "Rapid speaker adaptation in eigenvoice space", R. Kuhn, J.-C. Junqua et al, 2000 (592 citations as of August 2018)
  • "Mixture-model adaptation for SMT", G. Foster & R. Kuhn, 2007 (239 citations as of August 2018).
  • "Apocalypse North", Volume 1 "the Gathering Storm" & Volume 2 "Putting out Fire with Gasoline" (novel, Sept. 2015).

Previous work experience

  • Panasonic Inc, Research Scientist, 1996-2004
  • Centre de recherche informatique de Montreal, Research Scientist, 1992-1996

International experience and/or work

The Panasonic Speech Technology Laboratory for which I worked in 1996-2004 was located in Santa Barbara, California.

Roland Kuhn

Roland Kuhn

Principal Research Officer
Digital Technologies
1200 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6
Preferred language: English
Other(s): German, French, Japanese


Information Technology