23 January 2014

European Software Companies need a Language Cloud

The high reply rate in a recent survey amongst LT-Innovate members calls for a European Language Cloud.

Language Technology firms experience a strong growth and almost all are hiring.

Companies need language technology to communicate with their increasingly global customer base. Moreover, the data revolution and advances in human-machine interaction depend on understanding natural languages. Unfortunately Europe’s SMEs struggle to satisfy this striking demand. Many software innovations, but also basic functions such as search, work only well in English. Whoever works with languages faces soon the demand for supporting many languages... or to remain a small national player. Many EU institutions, for example, demand the equal support of their 24 official languages.

Support for many languages is cost-prohibitive, because it has to be developed individually per language. No surprise that an overwhelming majority of the industry would thus make use of a basic language infrastructure which provides features such as lemmatization or named entity detection. Higher level functions and services face some skepticism, since they might be competing with commercial offers. However, judging by the percentage of companies ready to use a cloud service and the fact that they are willing to pay a price for using it (preferably to a non-profit organisation), the need for a Language Cloud appears to be well established.

Hardly any European company can address all language needs of global customers. Besides the technical infrastructure, many LT-Innovate members thus share the vision of the European Language Cloud as a SaaS wrapper. They want to provide and monetize their specific capability while leveraging components of other providers.

What are your views? Please share them with us by commenting on this article!

Jochen Hummel, Chairman of the Board of Directors, LT-Innovate - CEO, ESTeam

See survey results.


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