13 July 2015

Le traitement automatique des langues (enfin) à l’honneur


Confrontée à un volume d’information toujours croissant, l’Europe découvre, ravie, la valeur du traitement automatique des langues, ciment de la construction européenne.

Lors du récent sommet LT-Innovate, Alexander De Croo, vice premier ministre de Belgique et ministre de l’Economie digitale ainsi que Robert Madelin, directeur général de la DG CONNECT à la Commission européenne, ont envoyé un message très clair à la communauté du Traitement Automatique des Langues (TAL) : « Nous comprenons aujourd’hui l’importance de votre discipline et le rôle qu’elle joue dans le développement économique de l’Europe. Nous apprécions aussi votre capacité à transformer et adapter votre discours à nos préoccupations économique et politique ».

Ce message, illustré dans les interventions régulières des intervenants politiques, souligne la prise de conscience du rôle fondamental du traitement automatique des langues.

Cette « compréhension déclarée » serait ainsi liée à la transformation du discours de notre discipline envers les autorités. Je n’en suis pas aussi convaincu que cela. Je n’ai pas le sentiment que notre discours ai subitement ou progressivement changé fondamentalement, et ce quelle que soit la discipline concernée, la traduction, la reconnaissance vocale ou encore l’analyse sémantique.
Cette soudaine prise de conscience des autorités européenne me semble être davantage une conséquence de leur difficulté, voire de leur impossibilité à faire face au volume d’information qui les submerge aujourd’hui.

En ce sens, nous pouvons rappeler à la communauté et aux autorités, que l’un des 3 V du Big Data – la Variété - caractérise intrinsèquement la masse des données qu’il faut appréhender et traiter.
C’est bien cet enfant de l’ère numérique qui a éveillé les consciences sur l’importance des données, leur nature, leur diversité, leur masse, pour l’aide à la décision technique, économique et politique.
Cependant, quelles qu’en soient les raisons, cette prise de conscience, dans le contexte du « Digital Agenda for Europe » est une excellente nouvelle pour notre communauté. Celle-ci, rappelons-le, est composée à la fois d’universitaires, mais également d’un grand nombre de PME à travers toute l’Europe. Il apparaît donc aujourd’hui que nous sommes clairement identifiés et reconnus pour nos expertises variées et notre valeur contributive au développement et aux enjeux européens.

Nous le savons, et j’ai pu le vérifier lors de notre réunion annuelle, toutes les entreprises engagées de notre communauté connaissent bien la manière dont elles peuvent contribuer à ce développement stratégique. En revanche, trop nombreuses sont celles qui finissent par baisser les bras au moment de se confronter aux mécanismes administratifs complexes et statutaires de l’Europe. Nous sommes en général des entreprises de petite taille et malheureusement pas toujours correctement équipées pour échanger d’égal à égal avec les autorités Européennes à l’occasion de projets de type H2020 ou autre. Nous avons parfois le sentiment regrettable qu’au cours des 15 dernières années, le fossé entre nous continue inexorablement de se creuser, qu’une communication simple et directe reste toujours difficile et qu’au final, l’Europe ne sait pas nous accompagner.

Il est urgent et impératif que l’Europe assume et entretienne un rôle d’accompagnement stratégique – à l’instar des États-Unis – auprès de nos PME innovantes, de nos start-up, parfois fragiles, afin d’assurer des perspectives de développement pérenne à moyen et long terme. L’Europe doit comprendre l’importance stratégique des technologies innovantes que nous développons pour servir, entre autre, l’indépendance technologique, économique, culturelle et juridique de notre continent européen.

Il est heureux que nos représentants européens prennent conscience de notre existence technologique et de notre valeur associée. Il est temps maintenant que notre Europe administrative se mette à notre hauteur afin de nous apporter une aide active en nous impliquant dans des projets d’exécution et de production. L’un des premiers bénéfices attendus permettrait certainement de simplifier et d’optimiser ses propres rouages administratifs...

Charles Huot est le directeur général délégué et co-fondateur de TEMIS, une société de gestion des données non structurées. TEMIS aide les entreprises à archiver, gérer, analyser, trouver et partager un volume d’informations toujours croissant. Cet article a été publié aussi sur EurActiv.

The LT-Innovate Summit 2015 in a Nutshell

The LT-Innovate Summit 2015 was attended by more than 140 stakeholders from industry, research, consultancy and policy making. Below are its highlights.

LT-Innovate Award Winners 2015


Five Winners of the LT-Innovate Award 2015 were selected by the jury & participants from the 17 applicants who showcased themselves during the Summit:
The 5 Winners of the LT-Innovate Award 2015 were designated at the LT-Innovate Summit on 25 June:
digm
Dolphio Technologies
Interprefy
recapp IT
Speexx
The Winners were selected by the jury & participants from the 17 applicants who showcased themselves during the Summit.
See more information on our main LTI Award page.
- See more at: http://www.lt-innovate.eu/lti-summit/award-2015#sthash.ngYjBzd8.dpuf
The 5 Winners of the LT-Innovate Award 2015 were designated at the LT-Innovate Summit on 25 June:
digm
Dolphio Technologies
Interprefy
recapp IT
Speexx
The Winners were selected by the jury & participants from the 17 applicants who showcased themselves during the Summit.
See more information on our main LTI Award page.
- See more at: http://www.lt-innovate.eu/lti-summit/award-2015#sthash.ngYjBzd8.dpufthe LT-Innovate Award 2015 were designated at the LT-Innovate Summit on 25 June:

digm
Dolphio Technologies
Interprefy
recapp IT
Speexx

The Winners were selected by the jury & participants from the 17 applicants who showcased themselves during the Summit.

See more information on our main LTI Award page.Five Winners of the LT-Innovate Award 2015 were selected by the jury & participants from the 17 applicants who showcased themselves during the Summit:
For more information, see main LTI Award page.

The 5 Winners of the LT-Innovate Award 2015 were designated at the LT-Innovate Summit on 25 June:
digm
Dolphio Technologies
Interprefy
recapp IT
Speexx
The Winners were selected by the jury & participants from the 17 applicants who showcased themselves during the Summit.
See more information on our main LTI Award page.
- See more at: http://www.lt-innovate.eu/lti-summit/award-2015#sthash.ngYjBzd8.dpuf

Launch of the LTI Cloud


Jochen Hummel - CEO, ESTeam and Chairman, LT-Innovate; Robert E. Etches - CIO, TextMinded; Luc Meertens - CEO, CrossLang; and Christoph Prinz - CEO, SailLabs called upon the Language Technology industry to join forces for the Launch of the LTI Cloud, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) wrapper which will make it easy to discover and plug ‘n’ play language technology components.

For more information see letter and presentation
.
Jochen Hummel - CEO, ESTeam and Chairman, LT-Innovate; Robert E. Etches - CIO, TextMinded; Luc Meertens - CEO, CrossLang; and Christoph Prinz - CEO, SailLabs call upon the Language Technology industry to join forces for the Launch of the LTI Cloud at the occasion of the LT-Innovate Summit on 26 June 2015. - See more at: http://www.lt-innovate.eu/lt-observe/document/call-collaboration-join-us-launch-lti-cloud#sthash.8QNp6p0Q.dpuf

Industry Challenges


Several industry executives provided an overview of their company's current and future needs from a language technology point of view:
  • Christian Dirschl, Chief Content Architect, Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH
  • Florence Beaujard, Head of Linguistics and Physiology for Cockpit Design, Airbus
  • Armin Hopp, Founder, Speexx
  • Christophe Leclercq, Founder, EurActiv
Christian Dirschl wrote a blog, summarising his experience and offering the support of Wolters Kluwer for the next steps.

Keynote speakers


The Summit welcomed three keynote speakers representing the three institutions involved in policy making at EU level:
  • Paul Rübig, Member of the European Parliament
  • Robert Madelin, Director General, European Commission, DG CONNECT
  • Alexander De Croo, Belgian Federal Vice-prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, the Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post
For more information, see blogs by Margaretha Mazura, Charles Huot (in French) and BelgienInfo article (in German).

Board of Directors


At the occasion of the Annual General Meeting of LT-Innovate, several new members of the Board of Directors were appointed:
  • Robert Etches, CIO, TextMinded
  • Matthias Heyn, Vice President Global Solutions, SDL International
  • Charles Huot, COO, TEMIS
You will find a full list of the current Board of Directors here.

Key links


Here are additional links to find out more about LT-Innovate 2015:

Programme and presentations
Speakers
Participants
Storify (summary) drawing upon the #ltisummit Twitter stream
Picture gallery

07 July 2015

Three high-level political messages in support of a multilingual Digital Single Market

On 25-26 June 2015, experts, technicians researchers, business people, intermediaries and politicy makers got together at the LT-Innovate Summit in Brussels to discuss and explore how language technologies can make the Digital Single Market multilingual.

MEP Paul Rübig opening the LTi Summit 2015

The first keynote by Austrian MEP Paul Rübig set the scene: "Language technologies represent a substantial economic power, they are set to grow dramatically, and thus, represent a great asset for Europe!". While languages are a representation of Europe's cultural heritage, they represent also an obstacle to cross-border trade. Paul Rübig emphasized that Europe's target should be to "remove language barriers as well as leverage on language diversity in order to support intra-European commerce and foster international trade. But this requires deep integration of language technologies in business processes and the public administration services. Therefore, the LT component must be part of the Digital Single Market".

R. Madelin, Director-General DG CNECT

The second high-level speaker was Director-General of DG CONNECT of the European Commission, Robert Madelin, who will become Special Adviser on Innovation to President Juncker as of 1 September 2015. He pointed out that the "ability for all Europeans to get what they need in the language of their choice is a requirement of the 21th century". He emphasized that LT-Innovate had contributed to clarifying the vision, which now needs to be implement practically and concluded: "the European cloud has to include an answer to the challenge of languages. Multilingualism is a necessity for Europe!".


Belgian Federal Vice Prime Minister, Alexander de Croo

The final keynote speaker of the event conquered the audience with a truly inspiring speech: Belgian Federal Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, the Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post, Alexander de Croo. He described the current digital landscape with all its opportunities but also issued some warnings: "Digital is one of the strongest democratic forces in the world. The biggest opportunities are in the traditional industries, here digital can make the big difference. Digital is a driving industry; language technology is empowering it to go global. [...] At some stage everything will be connected - language technology will empower people to understand". When it comes to the people, his message is clear: "Give more attention to people! Engage the European community in the creation of our digital future! We need to give more importance to eSkills, the educational system needs flexibility and innovation. I don't want an Einstein economy!" And he continued with another issue that was also raised at the LTO dialogue workshop on language resources: Trust! "We need trust. Give us more trust please in Europe and for Europeans. If you let people get on with it, people will do good things. Give it a try". And he ended with a hint towards the EU policy: "Thinking behind the single market is futile if we do not get rid of mobile roaming! Breaking up platforms is no solution! Creating the Digital Single Market will empower our own platforms." 

See the Summit' s full programme and presentations.

16 June 2015

Over the Hurdle of Multilingualism to Global Leadership


The Digital Single Market (DSM) has been declared a European priority by the European Commission. Rightfully so! Software eats everything and particularly eCommerce is enjoying dramatic growth rates and thus heavy investment. VP Andrus Ansip  has nicely summarized the vision of the Digital Single Market: “Consumers need to be able to buy the best products at the best prices, wherever they are in Europe.”

Today, unfortunately, that means that the consumer is in most cases spending her/his money on a non-European site. The numbers are actually shocking: according to a recent Commission infographic the Digital Market today is made up by 39% national online services (likely not giving you the best deal) and 57% by US-based online services. EU cross-border, however, represents only a minuscule four percent!

Given also the potential for growth and new jobs, the Commission has launched a digital strategy to pave the way towards the DSM. It lists many laudable initiatives, like affordable parcel delivery costs, tackling of geo-blocking, simplifying VAT arrangements (after they just have been made unmanageable for cross-border SMEs), modernizing copyright, and strengthening European data protection rules. All this will surely help, but does it really address the core challenge of the Digital Single Market?

Commissioner Oettinger  recently stated that "a Polish citizen being refused to buy products on a German website is not compatible with the idea of Europe". I am not so sure whether that online business is really rejecting the customer. Why should it? It probably rather has a hard time communicating with this customer. But worse, the Polish citizen likely never managed to find the German website. A simple search already breaks the vision of border-less shopping. Enter a string in your language and the search results will already trap you in your national market. But even if a product name search crossed these language silos, the Polish citizen probably won’t understand what the German website is offering and under which conditions.

The main hurdle towards a Digital Single Market are Europe’s many languages. It’s amazing how politics, but also business, have overlooked this so far! Or maybe rather chosen to ignore it? Perhaps because they don’t know how to solve it? The big investments in technologies to overcome the language barrier have often produced only academic results. The field is dominated by research institutions and small niche players. This makes it hard to discover, purchase, and deploy language technology solutions.

Luckily, language technologies can today indeed enable the Polish citizen to find, buy, and use a German product or vice versa. By using data-driven approaches, innovative language technologies such as search, automatic translation, voice recognition, knowledge management, sentiment analysis, and many others, have achieved acceptable quality for the major languages. They are ready to be deployed in European eCommerce sites.

However, for achieving the vison of the Digital Single Market, we have to support at least all our 24 official languages and those of our most important trading partners. This requires a basic natural language processing (NLP) infrastructure. The European Language Technology industry is therefore pushing for the European Language Cloud (ELC), a public infrastructure providing the basic functionality required to process unstructured content. Through an API the ELC provides basic language technology services such as tokenization, named entity detection, etc. for all languages, in the same base quality, under the same favorable terms.

On top of this infrastructure, European language technology companies, mostly SMEs, will expose their offerings in the LTI Cloud. The LTI Cloud is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) wrapper around language technology components and functions as a marketplace. It will make it easy for start-ups, eCommerce, system integrators, and software companies to discover and plug ‘n’ play language technology.

The fourth edition of the LT-Innovate Summit, the yearly point of convergence of the Language Technology industry, will explore how to concretely launch these crucial building blocks for the DSM.

In a recent article, the Washington Post mocked Europe’s DSM efforts by stating that "Europe’s digital decline is accelerating". I would counter that. Why don’t we turn this much moaned about hurdle of Europe’s multilingualism into a unique opportunity? If we manage, in spite of our many cultures and languages, to create a Multilingual Digital Single Market and cross-border eGov, we will become the fittest for the global market.


Jochen Hummel is CEO of ESTeam & Coreon and Chairman of LT-Innovate

10 June 2015

Major disruption ahead in the language industry!


http://www.gala-global.org/GALAxy/Q2-2015/5665
The Q2 issue of GALAxy, the quarterly newsletter of our partner association GALA, is guest edited by LT-Innovate Chairman Jochen Hummel (@JochenHummel) with a thought provoking piece on how Language Technology will leverage Big Data and transform the industry.

Several other articles are contributed and/or co-authored by LT-Innovate members and partners:
  • Big Data and the Translation Industry: Three Technology Challenges by Andrew Joscelyne, LT Innovate
  • Finding New Business Segments Through Big Data by Michael Wetzel, Coreon GmbH & Matthias Heyn, SDL plc
  • How to Improve Your Relationship with Machine Translation co-authored by Heidi Depraetere, CrossLang
  • Unlocking Language Resource Assets by Christian Galinski, Infoterm
  • Riga Summit Forges a Unified Vision for Multilingual Europe by Rihards Kalniņš, Tilde

08 June 2015

Highlights of the LT-Innovate Summit - Brussels, 25-26 June 2015


Keynotes


The fourth edition of the LT-Innovate Summit, the yearly point of convergence of the Language Technology industry, will take place in Brussels on 25-26 June 2015. It will benefit of the presence of leading policy makers:

  • Paul Rübig, Member of the European Parliament
  • Alexander De Croo, Vice Prime Minister of Belgium, Minister for the Digital Agenda
  • Robert Madelin, Director General, European Commission, DG CONNECT

Launch of the LTI Cloud




Jochen Hummel, LT-Innovate Chairman:

"We are launching the LTI Cloud on 26 June as a major new initiative that has the potential to benefit all our members. The aim of the LTI Cloud is to create a SaaS wrapper around language technology components developed by LT-Innovate members. It will make it easy for entrepreneurs, start-ups, software developers, IT departments, system integrators, and many others to source & plug ‘n’ play language technology components, allowing them to focus on their core business and competencies. Join us to find out more and make the LTI Cloud a success!"

See call for collaboration - Join us to launch the LTI Cloud!
Join us to Launch the LTI Cloud!
Join us to Launch the LTI Cloud!

 

LT CEO Summit and Industry Challenges


As every year, we have lined up a roster of "challengers":
  • Christian Dirschl, Chief Content Architect, Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH
  • Florence Beaujard, Head of Linguistics and Physiology for Cockpit Design, Airbus
  • Armin Hopp, Founder, Speexx
  • Christophe Leclercq, Founder, EurActiv

These high level industry executives will provide an overview of their company's current and future needs from a language technology point of view. Do not miss the opportunity to participate in these forward looking "challenges".

LT-Innovate Award 2015


Discover "The Best in LT", network with entrepreneurs, experts and investors... and celebrate the Winners of our prestigious industry Award.

Workshop on the future of conversational interaction technologies


We are collaborating with leading academics to prepare a Research and Innovation Roadmap for multilingual and multimodal conversational technologies. The current version of the roadmap is available at citia.eu.

The main goal of the workshop is to collect feedback and recommendations on (1) refining the research & innovation scenarios; (2) mechanisms to bridge the gap between research (including cognitive sciences) & innovation; (3) further development of the stakeholder community; and (4) how to develop a startup culture to bridge the gap between the excellent research base and commercial reality.

Workshop on language resources: foundations of the multilingual digital single market


This workshop aims at identifying concrete scenarios for the improvement of the usability of Language Resources (LR). It is split into 3 interrelated panels: LR demand, LR supply and Matching LR offer to demand. Panelists from industry, research and the public sector will, in particular, discuss the following questions:
  • How can LR identification become a more streamlined, accessible and easily achieved activity?
  • Where and how can LRs be found and identified to solve a specific MT problem?
  • Who would be able to do the work as a service?
  • How can terminology of a given field and text data relevant to the same field be found online in a dependable way?
  • What are the major barriers for finding and using LRs from existing repositories?
  • What would be best ways to overcome these barriers?


Check out the full programme and register here!


30 April 2015

Broad Language Industry Coalition launches Call for Action: The Digital Single Market Must Be Multilingual!

http://www.lt-innovate.eu/sites/default/files/Multilingual%20Digital%20Single%20Market%20Call%20for%20Action.pdf#overlay-context=users/phwlt-innovateeu
At the occasion of the Riga Summit on the Multilingual Digital Single Market, held on 27-29 April 2015, a broad coalition of organisations representing the language industries came together to sign a Declaration of Common Interest.

The Riga Summit also launched a Call for Action entitled "Multilingual Europe: The Crowning Touch to the Digital Single Market".

The Declaration and Call for Action emphasise the importance of language technologies as key enablers for a truly multilingual Digital Single Market.

For additional media coverage of the Riga Summit, see "Babelitious" in The Economist, "Will the Digital Single Market be multilingual?", "Europe needs a language infrastructure, not just Google Translate" (interview of Jochen Hummel, ESTeam) and "Smaller languages could be lost in the Digital Single Market" (interview of Andrejs Vasiljevs, Tilde) in EurActiv.