23 October 2013

ICT2013: are you involved in "cracking the language barrier"?

We are!

"Cracking the Language Barrier" is the title of the session at which the European Commission will present its Workprogramme with regard to language technologies for 2014-15 at the ICT 2013 event in Vilnius. The draft agenda of the session and the draft text of the Workprogramme are available on the session's webpage

LT-Innovate will be present at ICT2013 with its own networking session entitled "Language Technologies – The cornerstone key enabling technology for the Digital Single Market"..

Other Workprogramme presentations and networking sessions that you might want to get engaged in or attend are for example:

22 October 2013

[Radio Podcast] Daniel Mayer, Marketing Director of TEMIS speaks about Language Technologies (in French)

"La danse des mots" is a French radio programme broadcast on RFI (Radio France International).
In this podcast you will hear Daniel Mayer, Temis' Marketing Director, speaking about semantics and language technologies. He explains how to use semantics to analyse texts and improve the search of information.

Temis helps organizations structure, manage and leverage their unstructured information assets. The company won an LT-Innovate Award in 2012 for its platform Luxid® that identifies and extracts targeted information to semantically enrich content with domain-specific metadata.

 "La danse des mots" - 09/10/2013 (26:30)

Inbenta: from FAQs to Virtual, Semantically-enabled Q&As

At the beginning of 2011, Gartner predicted by year-end 2013 (that’s very soon now) at least 15 per cent of Fortune 1000 companies would be using a virtual assistant. The question is: will this prove to be the case?

When it comes to answering questions like that in the digital world, we’ve certainly come a long way from a process that began with the FAQ. Back in 2000, this format was a new online content category, created when websites were first being built on the brand new WWW. The idea was to anticipate customer information needs by using the sort of interactive exchange that goes back to the Socratic method and beyond. As customers typically ask questions to solve their problems, the idea was to provide typical online answers. The FAQ was a frozen simulacrum of conversational interactivity.

Almost ever since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, businesses have enabled users and consumers to ask “real-time” questions over the phone to a contact centre. You often waited a long time, or punched lots of buttons until the right agent answered and talked you through a solution for your hardware problem or your bank query. This kind of customer experience service inevitably led to high staff costs, plus additional management solutions to handle agent supervision, maintain quality and prevent customer loss due to unacceptable wait times.

One of the great breakthroughs in Q&A sessions like these, therefore, has been the shift from the relative complexity of real-time calls to the apparent simplicity of customer self-service, using ‘virtual assistant’ online software solutions to extract answers to questions from existing corporate content. Gartner estimates that this self-service market was already worth a billion dollars in 2012.
Up to 2016, the market for global intelligent VAs is likely to grow by 39% a year.

One of the key players in this new virtual assistant space has been the Barcelona-based company Inbenta, one of the first European companies to offer an online customer service that can actually understand the language of the question and then find the most relevant answer. Founded in 2005, Inbenta has unlike many of its competitors invested deeply in a linguistically sophisticated model of language meaning that can be implemented computationally to hide the understanding process from customers and optimise the search for the right information to solve the service question at hand.
This means paying close attention to the potential ambiguities of natural language.

Under the leadership of CEO Julio Prada López, Inbenta has expanded its customer-service client portfolio to more than 90 large companies and organisations, and posted sales of over a million euros in 2012. Its self-service solution has been adapted for websites and intranets and is available in multiple languages.

Inbenta has signed a number of partnerships to expand the range of VA opportunities for clients – one of them in 2011 with CodeBabyhttp://langtechnews.hivefire.com/articles/share/69971/ which provides digital characters that engage website visitors and seamlessly guides them through the online self-service experience.

As a result of this focus on very high quality language understanding technology, Inbenta won an EU Platinum Seal of e-Excellence In March 2011. And earlier this year, Inbenta was awarded an LT-Innovate Prize at the second LT-I Summit in Brussels, crowning eight years of enviable progress in semantics-driven customer self-service, whatever the device or interface involved.

16 October 2013

LTi Workshop in Brussels on 13 November: Maximising your Chances of Success in EU Projects in 2014

As from 2014, the EU's ICT Programme will be operating under a new set of rules. Instead of being a compoment of the Framework Programme for R&D (FP7), it will operate under "Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies", itself a component of the "Horizon 2020" Programme.

LT-Innovate organises a Workshop to allow its members and other parties interested in Language Tecnologies (LT) to interact with experts who will inform them about the new framework and rules, provide insights into the draft ICT Work Programme for 2014-15 and advise them on building successful project consortia.

This Workshop is a unique opportunity for LT stakeholders who are genuinely interested in EU-funded projects.

[More details & REGISTRATION]

European Day of Languages in Vilnius - Summary

The European Day of Languages is celebrated each year on 26 September. It highlights Europe's important cultural asset: multilingualism that at the same time represents a barrier for seamless communication and ubiquitous access to (understandable) content. This year, Vilnius hosted the 2-days conference "Unity in Diversity" with an attractive, international programme that discussed the many facets of multilingualism, amongst them: Multilingualism in digital content, languages for mobility, jobs, and active citizenship, or ICT for language learning.
For images and videos of the conference, please visit the Lithuanian presidency/Parliamentary dimension website that fully documents the event. [Image credit: Office of the Seimas]

14 October 2013

Single Digital Marketplace = Single LT Marketplace

The timing is good. MarketsandMarkets recently published a new report on the global Natural Language Processing market, estimating it would be worth some $9.8B in four years’ time. Today it stands at $3.7B. This represents an expected compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1% from 2013 to 2018.

Whether or not we actually reach this specific degree of growth with this time line, the signs are nevertheless promising for the immediate future of language technology. For as it happens, Europe’s Research and Innovation community is meeting up in Vilnius in November to plan the Digital Agenda for Europe. And LT Innovate is committed to irrigating the valleys and plains of Europe’s communication landscape by spurring the development of innovative language technologies.

Conversational interfaces, smart content and multilingual access are destined to underwrite the human dimension of the single digital market, allowing everyone to access what the thinker Ivan Illich once called ‘tools for conviviality’ – in the etymological meaning of the word – that is, tools for living together through our devices, our languages, our businesses and our desires!

At LT-Innovate, we have already developed our own market model to estimate the size of LT market in terms of sales and services to consumers, users and citizens, rather than focus on the market for “components” such as NLP. In our 2013 market report we estimate the global language technology market to be worth around €19.3B today and we anticipate grow to nearly €30B by 2015 – at a slightly lower growth rate of around 11%. But in many ways, then these estimates reinforce the positive picture for LT foreshadowed by the report mentioned.

Globally, we estimate that the speech technology market is growing by 9.7% and will be worth some €8.6B by 2015. Intelligent content should grow to €6.2B. And the more buoyant translation technology market is worth some €8.6B today and should surge to a significant €14.9B in a few years’ time.

The fascinating challenge of this particular market is that any given advance in corporate or consumer NLP software development at point A will almost inevitably need to be localised (i.e. translate the interface into a series of languages) at point B. And every piece of text content could potentially be rolled out in a spoken form and translated into all the languages of the community.

In other words, our three segments of speech, content and translation technology are handy categories. But they will be intimately interdependent in tomorrow’s single digital marketplace. That’s why we try and offer a global LT market figure for what might today look like lots of arbitrary segments.

LT-Innovate at ICT 2013 in Vilnius - join our networking session!

LT-Innovate organises a networking session at the ICT2013 event in Vilnius. Join us on 7 November 2013 at 6pm to discuss: Language Technologies: the Cornerstone Key Enabling Technology for the Digital Single Market. For more info, have a look at our agenda or send us comments and food for discussion here.

08 October 2013

TEDxZurich - Thomas Zweifel - Leading through Language

What is the difference between a good company and a great one? Language, argues Thomas Zweifel, an accomplished leadership coach. In his interactive talk, he will set out to prove to the TEDxZurich audience that communication is the most important leadership tool of all.

Dr. Thomas D. Zweifel is a Consultant for Insigniam Performance and the former CEO of Swiss Consulting Group. Since 1984, living on four continents, he has helped top and senior managers develop leadership in the action of meeting strategic objectives. Dr. Zweifel is the author of six co-leadership books, including Communicate or Die, Culture Clash, and The Rabbi and the CEO. Since 2000, he has taught leadership at Columbia University and St. Gallen University. Dr. Zweifel often appears in the media, including ABC News, Bloomberg TV, and CNN. He lives in Zurich with his wife and two daughters.

More TEDxZurich talks on: http://www.tedxzurich.com/

07 October 2013

Actuate and Bitext Announce Collaboration to Deliver Text Analytics Engines and Sentiment Analysis for Big Data through BIRT

Actuate Corporation, The BIRT Company delivering more insights to more people than all BI companies combined, today announced their cooperation with Bitext, in parallel with Bitext’s U.S. event in San Francisco this evening at WeWork. Bitext provides text analytics engines – inherently multilingual semantic technologies including text analytics and natural language interfaces – sporting one of the highest degrees of accuracy available today. Bitext recently announced a partnership with Salesforce.com as well.

Combined with Actuate’s BIRT iHub™ development tools and platform, or with Actuate’s BIRT Analytics™ 4.2 predictive analysis solution, Bitext provides two main advantages for the BIRT developer or end user: it produces highly accurate precision and recall; and it lends itself easily to a development process based on continuous improvement. BIRT Analytics 4.2 and Bitext are now available as a combined solution from Actuate.

We are very pleased to be working together with Actuate to further enrich their leading BIRT commercial suite with Bitext text and semantic analysis power,” said Antonio Valderrabanos, CEO and Founder, Bitext. “With Bitext analyzing unstructured data words as well as meaning, and Actuate performing advanced analysis of structured as well as unstructured, we cover the world of data.
Bitext enables entity and concept extraction, categorization, and sentiment analysis with a focus on customer-centric business areas such as marketing; customer relationship management and support; content analytics; and any line of business unit that requires advanced analytics. Examples of solutions include text analytics (entity extraction, concept extraction, and sentiment analysis), metatagging (enhanced indexing) and search (natural language interfaces). Currently available for 10 languages, Bitext enables the addition of new languages by including new data sources (dictionaries and grammatical rules).

Our collaboration with Bitext – providers of advanced semantic solutions for social media, search, and more – extends the types of analysis that can be performed with Actuate’s commercial BIRT developer and end-user platform or solution, by adding the ability to score sentiment toward products and services,” said Josep Arroyo, VP of Analytic Solutions at Actuate. “Users of Actuate with Bitext can now tap more than just negative or positive sentiment analysis. They can also visualize anticipated risks, opportunities and threats for personalized insights, in a single display on any device.

For a demo of BIRT Analytics 4.2, please visit Actuate’s YouTube Channel
For a demo of Bitext’s new API, please visit Bitext website

03 October 2013

LT-Innovate @ TEKOM / TC WORLD - 6-8 November 2013

From 6 to 8 November 2013, LT-Innovate participates in TEKOM / TC WORLD (Wiesbaden, Germany) with its own stand hosting ABBYY Language Services, CrossLang, ESTeam, Get Localization, The Language Technology Centre, Lingenio, Palex Languages and Software and TEMIS.

TEKOM / TC WORLD is Europe's largest professional fair for technical communication.

On 6 November, several LT-Innovate speakers appear on TEKOM's programme:

08.45-09.30: Knowledge meets Language by Jochen Hummel, ESTeam, Berlin, Germany (Room 2C)

09.45-10.30: Language Technology Scenarios for the Healthcare and Life Sciences Domain by Dr. Adriane Rinsche, The Language Technology Centre, London, UK (Room 2C)

11.15-12.00: Real-time Selection of Best Assets Based on Productivity Analysis by Anton Voronov, ABBYY Language Services, Russia, Moscow (Room 2C)

13.45-14.30: A Framework for Collaborative Efforts around Industrial Uses of Terminologies – The Luxid Community by Stefan Geißler, TEMIS Deutschland GmbH, Heidelberg, Germany (Room 2C)

14.45-15.30: Developing “Ideal” Software for the Language Industry by Anna Motovilova & Julia Makoushina, Palex, Alexandria, USA (Room 2C)

16.15-17.00: Extracting Translation Relations for Human-readable Dictionaries from Bilingual Text by Kurt Eberle, Lingenio, Heidelberg, Germany (Room 2C)

17.00-17.30: Tool Presentation: Machine Translation On Demand by Nathalie De Sutter, CrossLang, Gent, Belgium (Room 2B2)

17.15-18.00: Crowdsourcing in the Localization Process by Jari Herrgård, Get Localization, Helsinki, Finland (Room 2C)

Rhein-Main-Hallen GmbH , Rheinstraße 20, Wiesbaden , 65185, Germany
THe LT-Innovate stand is located in Hall 4, booth 442

[More information]

Inbenta implement online customer service using Natural Language Processing

NoMoreRack has chosen Inbenta to implement its online customer service using Natural Language Processing.

NoMoreRack is an online shopping website that offers quality brand named apparel and accessories for 50-80% off retail price.

Thanks to Inbenta, NoMoreRacks's website self-service rate is now more than 70%, as users find most commonly asked questions straight on the website, using their own words. As new FAQ and contents are being added, the self-service rate is growing rapidly.

[Radio Podcast] Jean Senellart speaking about Machine Translation Softwares (in French)

"La danse des mots" is a French radio programme broadcast on RFI (Radio France International). The programme is presented by Yvan Amar and is about French language in the world.

In this podcast you will hear Jean Senellart, Systran's R&D director, speaking about  machine translation softwares and language technology. He explains the design of a machine translation software, what are the developments and limits of the exercise.

Systran won this year an LT-Innovate Summit Award for its SystranLinks solution, designed to optimize and accelerate the automation of website localisation.

"La danse des mots" - 23/09/2013

01 October 2013

Systran - an Historic MT Pure Play in a World of Changing Language Services

The first generation of machine translation engines have been great travellers. Many of the original rule based systems – some of them now evolved into hybrid statistical/symbolic configurations – first saw the dawn decades ago. They represented a huge investment in person years of design, optimisation, maintenance and redesign. But no one seemed to make genuinely viable businesses out of them. Apart from Systran, the great survivor, more of which anon.

One classic example of an itinerant system is METAL, originally developed at a university in Texas in the 1970s, then acquired by Siemens in Germany in the late 1980s to drive its huge documentation localisation programme, and later sold off in parts (usually language pairs) to various smaller translation companies in Europe over the subsequent years. Today much mutated versions of METAL it are still hard at work in numerous incarnations from Spain to Germany, even though their software core has had to be largely rewritten.

Another fascinating story is the Logos system, originally developed as a very large (and beautifully-crafted) bespoke rule system in the US during the Vietnam war to translate weapons documentation into Vietnamese, and later extended to another strategic language on the weapons agenda – namely Farsi –just as regime change arrived in Iran in 1979. It continued commercially with a German-English pair into the 1990s, but since 2010 has gone open source at SourceForge (led by DFKI experts, offering a massive linguistic resource for developers but (so far) of very little commercial value.

So the outright commercial champion of the first half-century of automated translation software is Systran . Sourced in the early experiments in Georgetown (US) mostly for US intelligence end users, Systran was founded by Peter Toma in 1968 and the company has never disappeared from sight or been dissolved into a larger service supplier. Today it is the great brand name of the world of machine translation.

Like its successors, it too has travelled. The system was partially acquired by a French businessman in the late 1980s, while certain language pairs were owned and developed by translation services at the European Commission as part of a first effort to apply MT to solving the multilingual information barrier in the Europe Union.

Today, Systran is still innovating, and in 2013 won an LT-Innovate Summit Award for its SystranLinks solution, designed to optimize and accelerate the automation of website localisation. Prior to this it was almost certainly the first MT system to be linked up to the early Web, driving the free Babelfish translation service ever since the Internet paleolithic age of 1995. And can even claim to be the first online translation service ever, providing automated translations through the French Minitel videotext service back in the early 1990s.

The company has also weathered the statistical tsunami by extending its technology stack to include data-driven benefits on top of its fundamentally ‘symbolic’ architecture – i.e. one based on the properties of words and phrases rather than on the probabilities of strings of letters.

Systran also offers a useful benchmark for mapping the sector’s monetary value. It is one of the very few publicly-listed companies in its sector (SDL and other similar listed vendors operate in a galaxy of multilingual service markets, not just MT) so its financials are public. In a translation technology software market that LT-Innovate estimates to have grown by some 15.5% in 2012 to a volume of $739.2M, Systran has been posting sales in software and services of around €10M. Other software service suppliers do better.

But remember that Systran has remained independent of the much more valuable translation services segment and focused constantly on improving its core technology and value proposition as a “pure play” MT supplier. Where it has been particularly successful recently is in helping translate content for national intelligence agencies, especially in the US.

The company has run the gamut from offering a free online translation service to providing highly domain-tailored services to enterprises and industries. Systran’s forty-five years of loyal service to its clients in the MT segment constitutes a pretty rare track record. How will it innovate tomorrow?