29 October 2012

DG CONNECT's Stakeholder Survey: "Help us do better"

DG CONNECT's Stakeholder Survey has been launched and remains open until 2 December. The aim of this survey is to learn more about individuals, groups, organisations and entities who are involved in, or have views on, shaping Digital Agenda for Europe. It seeks more information on the areas stakeholders are interested in as well as rating the importance and level of satisfaction of certain aspects of interaction, for example easy access to information and the importance of timely and accurate feedback.

Therefore, DG CONNECT invites you to take part in this Survey to help us do our work and serve you better. The objectives are to:
- get a better understanding of who DG CONNECT's stakeholders are
- get an overview of how DG CONNECT is perceived
- identify areas of improvement
- establish a baseline scenario to measure progress
- Your answers will feed into a strategy, which aims at further developing DG CONNECT's relations with different types of stakeholders.

The survey will take from 5 to 10 minutes to complete and answers will remain anonymous.
In January 2013 the main findings of the survey will be published on the Digital Agenda for Europe website.


25 October 2012

Technology and the great ‘refreshment’ of learning and playing

There is widespread fear that technology kills more jobs than it creates. Obviously so in manufacturing where Europe has seen hundreds of thousands of jobs ‘relocate’ to emerging economies. Or increasingly become replaced by industrial robots. Now, innovation in knowledge technologies – e.g. the language technology industry– will also appear to be replacing what we thought of as unique human skills by increasingly cheap techno-fixes. 

Copy-editors are being (so far inadequately) replaced by digital spell and grammar checkers. Court interpreters might eventually find themselves waiting longer for a phone call when the judge can simply plug into a (still perfectible) speech to speech translation service. Instantaneous speech analytics can do a quicker job than quality inspectors in pinpointing anomalies in contact centre practices. And trading translators for machines has been a familiar complaint for years now.

In knowledge-intensive industries, there will always be a certain subset of procedures that can be modelled as an algorithm and automated inside a workflow – think of AI-driven medical diagnoses or running text analytics on a large corpus of customer complaints. But we are also learning that technology can aid the agile human brain to rediscover a certain pleasure in activities that were once thought to have been ‘solved’ by digital methods. What were once tedious jobs, difficult mental games, or hard-grind obligations such as rote-learning can now – thanks to computers - be transformed into pleasurable recreations.

Interestingly, the English word recreation comes from the Latin recreationem meaning "recovery from illness" which evolved by 1400 into "refreshing oneself by some amusement". Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff has recently drawn attention to a curious twist in the recent history of chess-playing. It has largely been ‘refreshed’ or ‘re-created ‘under the effect of a technology that might well have caused its extinction:

Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that, worldwide, technological change could easily lead to the loss of 5-10 million jobs each year. Fortunately, until now, market economies have proved stunningly flexible in absorbing the impact of these changes. A peculiar but perhaps instructive example comes from the world of professional chess. (…) In 1997, the IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov in a short match. Soon, potential chess sponsors began to balk at paying millions of dollars to host championship matches between humans. (…) Nevertheless, a curious thing has happened: far more people make a living as professional chess players today than ever before. Thanks partly to the availability of computer programs and online matches, there has been a mini-boom in chess interest among young people in many countries. Many parents see chess as an attractive alternative to mindless video games. A few countries, such as Armenia and Moldova, have actually legislated the teaching of chess in schools.

Another item on the ‘technology is skill-destructive’ agenda is the signature human ability to use memory to carry out a complex skill such as learning a language. There are regular complaints that digital tech has replaced (memory-based) mathematical skills, for example, or that a digital speech-to-speech translator will eventually eliminate the need for language learning. 

What may really be happening, though, is that technology is releasing us from the cognitive burdens we associate specifically with work. And enabling us to ‘re-create’ these erstwhile functional skills such as memorising and language learning as recreational pleasures.

Ed Cooke, the CEO of Memrise, is trying to encourage communities to invent new ways to learn old human tricks such as memorising. In an interview, he said:

My cultural prediction is that the notion of learning is going to become increasingly detached from what is practical and increasingly linked to what is recreational and interesting. All we really try to do on the Internet is learn stuff, to understand what’s going on. Reading the Internet is an incredibly inefficient way of doing that – you can read Wikipedia for hours and end up with one anecdote. I think there will be some really interesting technology coming in the next few years to combine learning, reading and recreation. As long as we continue to think of learning as a functional thing then we’ll soon have to confront very soon the fact that we’re redundant as a species.  But if you think of learning in the way you think about having a conversation or going to see a film as a personal way to have fun and enrich yourself, then that’s a better to think about learning in the long term.

If it proves true, this shift from a functional to a recreational – some might say a ‘gaming’ - mind-set in the digital age could largely draw on language technology. Language learning, language making (the recreational construction of Klingon-type languages for games of all sorts or for hobbyist communities) and generally playing around with anything from writing systems to spoken dialects could form just one strand in the great refreshment of our personal and social lives through technology.

Author: Andrew Joscelyne

24 October 2012

LT-Innovate welcomes the Connecting Europe Facility and calls for the inclusion of a Multilingual Digital Service Infrastructure as a matter of priority.

In an Open Letter to Neelie Kroes, Jochen Hummel, Chaiman of LT-Innovate and CEO of ESTeam offers to the Commissioner the encouragement and full collaboration of LT-Innovate in making the European Language Cloud available to European institutions, businesses and citizens as soon as possible. Why? 

"In our view, a major public investment in ICT networks is only justified if it goes hand in hand with a substantial effort to create and/or strengthen European platforms, in particular a language platform." To make business on a multilingual continent, we need to overcome "the language barriers that are still one of the main factors accounting for the fragmentation of the Single Market."
In addition, "the European Language Cloud would considerably bring down the costs of cross-border products and services and allow all Europeans to seamlessly interact with the 1 billion+ market of speakers of European languages. This would constitute a major opportunity and boost for the European economy and society, creating many new jobs. In a second step, such a platform should also support the languages of our major trading partners, thus making European companies fittest for the global markets."

23 October 2012

New Language Services Industry Research Details Web Marketing Best Practices

Thousands of companies around the globe offer translation services, spoken language interpreting, and website localization, competing for business in a market estimated by market research firm Common Sense Advisory at US$17 billion in 2010. However, as a new report from Common Sense Advisory reveals, many of these firms fail to make their own websites available in multiple languages. The report, titled, “Marketing Language Services Online,” provides a detailed review of 300 websites of translation and interpreting businesses based in 48 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

The report finds that 35% of language services supplier websites are monolingual. By contrast, just 2% of companies offered their website in 20 or more languages. “Fifty-four of the websites reviewed in our study cited ‘website localization’ as one of the services they offered, even though their own websites were available in just one language,” explained Nataly Kelly, senior analyst at Common Sense Advisory, who led the research initiative. “This is the language services industry equivalent of the shoemaker’s son going barefoot.”

euroscript selects TermWeb for its Global Content Management solution

Bertrange | 20 October 2012 – euroscript chooses Interverbum Technology's TermWeb® terminology management solution as a component of its Global Content Management solution

euroscript, the leading provider of global content lifecycle management solutions, has added TermWeb into its portfolio of cloud-based solutions for Global Content Management. This will allow euroscript to better support its modular offering of tailored terminology services and add tangible value to its customers’ terminology assets.

 “Our customers recognize the value of their corporate terminology assets to strengthen their unique footprint and to streamline internal information management," says Karina Martínez Ferber, Director Processes & Technology at euroscript International S.A.. "Such assets need to be accessible for more and more employees and other stakeholders and well-integrated in the content lifecycle. This requires structure, standards and clear processes. Our customers entrust us with substantial parts of those processes—and euroscript provides them with the right services and tools along the entire lifecycle.”

Ms. Martínez Ferber pursues: "Interverbum’s TermWeb solution will enable us to offer to our customers secured online access to their multilingual dictionaries and true collaboration in maintaining and enlarging them across all languages. Together with euroscript’s solutions for terminology extraction and consolidation, combined with our training and consultancy services, this rounds out our terminology services line.

Ioannis Iakovidis, Managing Director at Interverbum Technology adds, “euroscript has gained its prominence in the European and global language sector thanks to its ability to proactively invest in serving its customers with the most advanced solutions available. We look forward to supporting their customers’ branding and communication efforts through the addition of our best-in-class terminology management solutions across all industries and languages."

Besides enlarging its portfolio of cloud-based solutions for Language Services customers, euroscript will be able to provide TermWeb licenses to all its customers.

About euroscript

euroscript is a leading provider in global content lifecycle management solutions. The euroscript International divisions deliver comprehensive solutions that help customers design, build and run content management operations of all sizes. Thanks to its employees’ expertise in the fields of consulting, system integration, language services as well as content and document management, euroscript International is able to help businesses worldwide to manage content more efficiently.
With a market presence in over 18 countries, euroscript serves customers in a variety of business sectors including the public sector, aerospace, defense and transport, manufacturing, life sciences, financial services and energy and environment. www.euroscript.com

About Interverbum Technology

Interverbum Technology is a software company dedicated to solving the content creation and translation challenges of global organizations. Its flagship terminology management system, TermWeb, is a Web-based solution that integrates seamlessly with existing content and translation management systems and processes. It is compatible with major software platforms such as SDL Trados Studio, Microsoft Office, Ontram, XTM and Acrolinx IQ. Interverbum Technology has offices in Sweden, Germany, Singapore and the United States.

NLPPeople: boosting job opportunities for language techies

The European language industry probably needs good business staff – marketers, sales directors, social media experts, and senior management – as much as it needs techies. Yet these days it is often the techies who take the risk of starting up new companies around a promising technology idea. At the same time, companies in various verticals are now desperately looking for new expertise in natural language and speech processing to help with their big data, virtual assistant and globalization agendas. How about a dedicated site for matching NLP expertise with market demand?
Maxim Khalilov, who currently works at TAUS Labs out of Amsterdam, has had the neat idea of building a free language technology job board for language technology positions called NLPPeople. It brings together not just a growing list of job vacancies, but also value-add in the shape of advice for graduates starting out on a first job in industry, and a space for sharing experience and information to raise the overall level of understanding and expectation about industry-type conditions. 

Now that the first proofs of concept for data mining and sentiment detection have been successfully carried out on social media and other big data sources, the language barrier will start to kick in for global analytics. Hence the growing need among jobs advertised on NLPPeople for language-specific expertise in the NLP space, not simply machine learning skills. The jury is still out on the translate/analyse local language debate for big data processing, and both approaches will inevitably be tested. But the availability of language-savvy technologists could largely drive the conversation towards radical multilinguality, rather than ‘data’ translation.

A back of the envelope calculation based on the Stuttgart University listing suggests that Europe has between 150 and 200 academic centers producing graduates/PhDs in computational linguistic and speech processing, or from 1,700 to 2000 people being trained in various aspects of language technology-friendly disciplines. According to Khalilov, most other job listings focus on university positions or jobs in very large global IT companies, with a strong emphasis on software development rather than linguistic expertise –in the broadest sense of the term). Let’s hope that NLPPeople can put the right sort of graduates in touch with any of the 500 to 600 language/speech technology businesses needing technical staff in Europe, and even more importantly with the growing number of data-centric businesses that will need trained language engineers to turn data insights into export profits. 

Author: Andrew Joscelyne
Hat-tip to Steven Krauwer and Georg Rehm for useful input.

22 October 2012

Priberam joins LT-Innovate

Priberam is the world’s leading supplier of natural language processing and search technologies for the Portuguese language and the market leader in law knowledge management systems in Portugal. Multidisciplinary teams of software engineers, linguists and lawyers, among others, develop the company portfolio of products and services.
  • The Priberam Portuguese Language Dictionary (formerly known as Portuguese Language Dictionary Online , or DLPO), with over one million page views per day, is the fifth most popular Portuguese website.
  • FLiP (acronym for " Ferramentas for Língua Portuguesa ") is the brand under which Priberam has been providing various products and services in the area of natural language processing since 1995. The FLiP 8 includes spell checkers, dictionaries, thematic, stylistic and syntactic correction, thesauri, and many linguistic processing features that can be used as add-ins to text editors including Word.
  • Novo Corretor Aurélio (Brazilian Portuguese checking tools) began to license and develop resources for Brazilian Portuguese. 
  • LegiX is the leading Portuguese legal database, the system chosen by the 20 largest law firms operating in Portugal. Since launching the first version in 1991 the evolution of LegiX has been marked by continuous improvements, such as updating via the Internet, automatic creation of hyperlinks to documents cited in the text, the ability to create personal databases, the introduction of notes and, more recently, the generation of digital editions in PDF.
  • Priberam Search is the result of years of work in the areas of natural language processing and legal information systems, as well as projects in research and development that the company has participated in.

Transenter joins LT-Innovate

Transenter was founded in 2002 as a traditional translation language service provider and has since expanded to become an innovative leader in the translation market. The company has translated millions of words and supported hundreds of firms in achieving their growth. They know how to keep pace with the huge content flow of international companies. Transenter has found the way to translate your content immediately into 20 or 30 different languages, effortlessly and instantly and brings innovative solutions to the multilingual content market, solutions that play a part in increasing your company’s revenue by providing you with access to cutting edge translation technology, thereby reducing turnaround time while maintaining a high-quality translation.

Transenter website

Quorate Technology joins LT-Innovate

Quorate Technology is a spin-out from the Centre for Speech Technology Research at The University of Edinburgh. Its proprietary speech recognition software addresses the challenge of being able to find keywords in audio and video recordings. Unlike other speech recognition products, the system is targeted at conversational speech. Any type of meeting with up to 12 participants can be captured using standard recording equipment, transcribed automatically using Quorate’s novel software, and archived for subsequent review. Quorate provides an intuitive browser interface in order to quickly and efficiently review recorded meetings for desired search terms.
Meetings can be captured using a panoramic video camera and any documents presented can be time-stamped, linked to the audio recording and located when a search is performed. Quorate is based in Edinburgh and staffed by a team of some of the world’s leading speech recognition and language processing experts. There are numerous potential use-cases for audio search and automatic transcription of multi-participant meetings.

Quorate Technology website

iFinger joins LT-Innovate

iFinger is a digital dictionary search engine that automatically appears on the window you’re working with, no matter whether you’re on or offline. The company offers instant access to quality reference content by world leading providers, enabling you to increase the accuracy and efficacy of your written work. You can choose to download from a wide variety of reference content by respected publishers such as Collins, Ernst Klett Verlag and Cappelen Forlag. iFinger also offers direct search in Wikipedia, whose functionality is available in all languages.

iFinger has more than 2.5 million individual users and also offers global multi language solutions for corporate networks. The company is registered in the United Kingdom. Operational activities are carried out by iFinger Ltd (NUF) Norway.
The iFinger software offers a user friendly way to search high quality reference material produced by well known publishers. The open architecture of the iFinger software is able to facilitate multi language content from any publishing house. At present, our product range consists of over 100 respected titles with more due to be added in the near future. We also have the ability to offer additional titles “à la carte”

iFinger website

19 October 2012

Commission under fire over language policy!

Nikiforos Diamandouros, the European ombudsman, has criticised the European Commission for refusing to conduct public consultations in the 23 official languages of the European Union.  In a decision published last week (11 October), Diamandouros found that the Commission's practice of launching public consultations in only a few EU languages constituted maladministration.

CELAN Final Workshop 15 November, Brussels

The Final Workshop of the CELAN project - Language Strategies for Competitiveness and Employability - will take place on 15 November 2012 in Brussels. 
"In the age of globalization, an ever increasing number of products and services are offered to a growing number of language communities... I have to admit that I was overwhelmed by these findings – and their economic implications" says Wolfgang Mackewicz, coordinator of the CELAN project. Join us and find out your language needs and be part of the panel discussion on future strategies. 

18 October 2012

Lingle to Sneak-preview a New Language School Product at EXPOLingua

Lingle, a 2012 LT-Innovate Award winner, is running a special pre-release showcase event as part of EXPOLingua Berlin next week. The company is launching Lingle for Language Schools next month and giving a special pre-release showcase at the EXPOLingua show.

Lingle for Language Schools allows English Language teachers, editors and schools to automatically create and publish lessons and activities using current authentic news. Your learners can complete activities online or in print, in the classroom or remotely. Teachers can track learner progress online.

Lingle will be at stand B21, EXPOLingua, Russisches Haus der Wissenschaft und Kultur, Friedrichstraße, Berlin October 26th - 28th.

12 October 2012

Digital Health Innovation Increasingly Supported by Corporate Venture Capital Investments

At the LT-Innovate Workshop held in Brussels this week (8-9 October), delegates were reminded that corporate investments in innovation represent a powerful source of funding for new developments in digital technology across all sectors. 
A recent article in the L’Atelier blog (from the BNP Paribas Group) draws attention to a wave of corporate investment in the healthcare sector, citing such firms as Abbot, Boston Scientific, Burrill & Company, Cleveland Clinc, Johnson & Johnson and Philips. They cite the following useful insight into the extraordinary rise in digital health – a key focal point for innovative language technologies of all varieties:

Another recent report from Burrill & Company, which specialises in channelling venture capital into life sciences companies, points to a 194% leap in total financing for Digital Health companies, defined as a “segment fuelled by the convergence of information, wireless and healthcare technologies,” in first-half 2012, versus the same period last year. And the lion’s share of this capital is flowing in from the venture units set up by major corporates. Among the most active investors we find Philips, Abbott, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson. One third of all buyouts in the Digital Health sector over the last year received funds from corporate-based venturing units. Total exit valuations in this sector are now three times as high as those from social networks and twice as high as from mobile applications, presenters told the audience.

Language technologies appear set to provide many of the tools that clinicians, patients and hospital administrators need to channel up-to-date knowledge (encoded in natural speech and language) in various media to the surgery, the patient’s bedside, and above all to the industry’s mobile devices in order to speed up and lower the cost of delivering advanced healthcare. Corporate funding units will be looking closely at these solutions from the LT industry.

Author: Andrew Joscelyne.

EU-China Language Forum: cooperation and bilateral relations

On 16 October 2012, a EU-China Language Forum will be held. With trade and political relations between China and Europe on the rise, the role of language and language education is crucial. More than 2000 Chinese students have benefited from Erasmus Mundus grants to study in the EU, while the Chinese government yearly provides 200 scholarships for European students to study Chinese in China. This conference will analyse and explore potential policy measures and practices to improve language education, cooperation and bilateral relations between China and Europe.
Registration are still possible until Monday, 15 October 2012.

11 October 2012

European Language Technology Vendors Set up ‘LT-Innovate’ as Their Representative Body

Brussels, 8-9 October 2012

Over 50 Language Technology (LT) stakeholders, among them recognized LT vendors, as well as representatives from the European Commission, participated in the LT-Innovate Workshop which took place in Brussels on 8/9 October 2012.

The main outcome of the Workshop was the decision to set up LT-Innovate as a legal entity to serve as representative body for LT vendors at European level.

This decision comes in the wake of the very successful LT-Innovate Summit that brought together more than 160 LT stakeholders in June 2012.

LT-Innovate furthermore appointed five new members to its Board of Directors: Heidi Depraetere, Director of Crosslang; Jose C. Gonzalez, CEO of Daedalus; Jerzy Nedoma, CEO of XTRF Management Systems; Alexander Rylov, Director of Abby and Andrejs Vasiljevs, Chairman of Tilde. (see full list of Board members here)

The first day of the Workshop was dedicated to EU funding opportunities available in the current Calls for Proposals under “Content analytics and language technologies” and the “SME initiative on analytics”. Roberto Cencioni and Kimmo Rossi from the European Commission presented the two Calls. Building upon these opportunities, Margaretha Mazura outlined the elements that constitute a successful project proposal. Participants had, afterwards, the opportunity to present their project ideas for peer review.

The agenda of the second day was very intense. In the morning, attendees discussed elements of a draft industry vision statement, were briefed on the latest consolidated LT market data available from IDC, and brainstormed the idea of organizing “innovation partnering focus groups” with key client segments (healthcare, finance, tourism, publishing, government, etc.).

Presentations were given respectively by Ruben Riestra, Rose Lockwood and Philippe Wacker. The afternoon was dedicated to discussing communication and public relations actions aimed at increasing the collective visibility of the industry as outlined by William Stevens, and reviewing the collaborative agenda of LT-Innovate’s Special Interest Groups under the guidance of Philippe Wacker.

All the Workshop-related material is available on the LT-Innovate website.

Children in Europe start learning foreign languages at an increansingly early age

Children are starting to learn foreign languages at an increasingly early age in Europe, with most pupils beginning when they are 6-9 years old, according to a report published by the European Commission. A majority of countries or regions have lowered the starting age for compulsory language learning in the past 15 years and some even offer it in pre-school - the German speaking community in Belgium, for instance, provides foreign language learning for children as young as 3. The Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe 2012 report confirms that English is by far the most taught foreign language in nearly all European countries, with French, Spanish, German and Russian following far behind.

"Linguistic and cultural diversity is one of the European Union's major assets," says Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. "Language learning facilitates communication between peoples and countries, as well as encouraging cross-border mobility and the integration of migrants. I am happy to see that even our youngest citizens are being exposed to the joys of discovering foreign languages. I also encourage people to look beyond the most widely-used languages so they can appreciate Europe's incredible linguistic diversity."

Synthema joins LT-Innovate

SyNTHEMA, a leader in Human Language Technology, has been developing Language and Semantic Intelligence, Machine Translation, Data Mining, Text Mining and Speech Solutions since 1994.
With a long-standing presence in the globalization market, SyNTHEMA boasts a great experience as a translation and localization service provider in a wide range of business sectors: from Information Technology to Finance, from Marketing to e-Learning.

Lingenio joins LT-Innovate

Lingenio GmbH is the producer of the machine translation system translate and the innovative software suite office wörterbuch. Since its setup in 1999, Lingenio has gained a wealth of research and development knowhow that has been moulding the evolution of machine translation technologies.
Its objective is to advance research and the transfer of knowledge for sustainable progress in the efficiency and efficacy of automatic translation.
Lingenio technologies not only enhance the quality of translation, they also afford an essential contribution to cost and time savings. The innovative technologies developed by Lingenio have been recognised by a long line of renowned national and international awards. Lingenio safeguards the pioneering status of its technology by collaborating with a great many national and international universities and companies, including Spoken Translation, Inc. (USA) and Synthema SRL (Italy). In addition, Lingenio is involved in a number of research projects and is a prolific publisher of its own articles on the improvement and optimisation of machine translation infrastructure.

CrossLang joins LT-Innovate

CrossLang is a privately owned consulting and systems integration company dedicated to translation automation technology. Today, CrossLang is a leader in independent translation automation solutions and works for a growing number of global companies.
It brings together a team of professionals with expertise in process engineering, computational linguistics, knowledge management, business automation and all aspects of the language market.
More and more companies are discovering that the dynamics of web content cannot be handled by the traditional translation model. By the time the translation has completed the human cycle the content is often outdated – making the whole process redundant. In this case, machine translation could be the right solution – fast, efficient and accurate if deployed correctly.
The CrossLang specialists can help you assess the feasibility of using machine translation and guide you through the vital first steps in planning for enterprise-wide implementation.

Logrus joins LT-Innovate

For years Logrus have been developing systems and tools to support translation projects, covering tasks ranging from technical and linguistic quality checks to project management solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into the enterprise resource planning system:
  • Website content management system: a simple and intuitive system for creating and updating website content, including that of multilingual websites.
  • Bug tracking system: the system lets project participants publish any detected errors in real time and keep track of the relevant changes in the database.
  • Translation team management: acting as the hub of information exchange among translators, editors, and consultants, it raises the awareness of all process participants about potential complications and ways to resolve them, speeds the translation process along, and enhances the quality of translated material.
  • Project Management: Logrus Dashboard enables customers to keep track of the current status of projects and their components. Automatically updated charts offer an instant snapshot of the situation and help save time on data analysis.

10 October 2012

The 3rd International Symposium on Multilingualism in Cyberspace

As emphasized repeatedly in Net.lang, towards the multilingual cyberspace [1], cyberspace presents both a threat and an opportunity for languages. Threat, because the best equipped languages impose themselves; opportunity, because, by its accessibility and universality, cyberspace provides a channel to those who need it, directly, as a recording option and indirectly, through the dissemination of knowledge.

The third International Symposium on Multilingualism on Cyberspace, organized by the World Network for Linguistic Diversity, is going to take place in Paris from 21 to 23 November 2012.  It will be open to a wide audience in order to make available the issues of linguistic diversity in the digital world and to facilitate understanding of the issues by all persons interested in the development and promotion of languages. Cyberspace will be taken in the broad sense including new media.

The following topics are on the agenda:

4 subjects have been selected by the III SIMC Scientific Council members : 
  • Governance and international cooperation for multilingualism
  • Languages and multilingualism in virtual education
  • Multilingualism and language technologies 
  • Multilingualism, cyberspace and labour market

4 specific roundtables will also be proposed : 
  • DILINET (measuring linguistic diversity in cyberspace) 
  • Net.lang (rising awareness and getting more translations) 
  • World Summit on Multilingualism 
  • Wikipedia (multilingual content and collective participation)

08 October 2012

Full press coverage of META-NET’s “digital” bombshell

Impossible for anyone to miss the media blitz generated by META-NET’s September 20th press release stating that at least 21 of Europe’s dozens of languages are under threat of digital extinction. If you’re interested in seeing how the world reacted to this challenging finding, check out the META site where they are keeping a very useful tally of the media fall-out, which totals over 400 mentions from round the globe. They inevitably come mainly from Europe and in large part from language communities conventionally known as “smaller” due to the size of their native-speaker base. I wonder if META-NET will do some fine-tuned analytics on the sentiments expressed in this intriguing multilingual corpus and its social media extensions.  

Author: Andrew Joscelyne.

02 October 2012

Results of the Flash Eurobarometer: User language preferences online

The Flash Eurobarometer User language preferences online (Flash No 313) was conducted to examine Internet users’ attitudes and opinions towards the use of different languages on the Internet. In detail, the survey examined:
  • Languages, other than respondents’ own, that are used on the Internet: (a) when reading or watching content on the Internet, and (b) when writing on the Internet.
  • Use of a language, other than respondents’ own, for different Internet activities.
  • Opinions about the availability of websites in several languages

Results of the ICT Proposers’ Day

The ICT Proposers’ Day which was held in Warsaw on 26/27 September was a success. Over 2.000 European and international stakeholders gathered in the Polish capital to acquire information about the funding opportunities offered by the ICT Work Programme 2013 and to exchange ideas on future project proposals.

The funding opportunities under "Content analytics and language technologies” were presented by Mr Kimmo Rossi, European Commission, “Data Value Chain” Unit. Following Mr Rossi’s introduction, 15 stakeholders of the LT sector, among others, universities and SMEs, presented their products and proposal ideas.

Philippe Wacker, Secretary General of LT-Innovate, gave a presentation on the tools that the LT-Innovate web-platform has on offer and encouraged the audience to visit the website and become acquainted with these. Due to the SME status of the members of LT-Innovate, Mr Wacker highlighted their potentially essential role as partners for the Objectives involving SMEs: Objective 4.2 "Scalable data analytics" and Objective 4.3 "SME initiative on analytics".

If you are interested in learning more about the fascinating world of Language technologies, the current Calls for Proposals under FP7 in this field and also about LT-Innovate, you can still register for the LT-Innovate Workshop which will take place on 8/9 October. Deadline for registration is 3 October!

Open Data in the German Language, First conference to be held in Vienna

The first “Open (government) data conference” of DACHLI (which stands for the 4 European German-speaking countries Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) will take place on 4 October 2012 in Vienna, Austria. Organised by the ADV – Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Datenverarbeitung (Working group on data processing), the programme consists of presentations and panel discussions by public and private Open Data stakeholders. Its motto is „Win-Win-Win für Verwaltung, Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft“  (Win-win-win for administration, science and economy). Austria is the first country that implemented an open government data platform that is permanently enlarged. Thus, Austria honours its reputation as European Champion in eGovernment, a title given to it in 2012 for the fourth time in a row. By its nature, most of the information is in German.