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META-FORUM 2012 – Report and Videos now online

by John Judge — last modified 2021-06-15 15:35

Earlier this year, on June 20/21, hundreds of people from the extended Language Technology community gathered in Brussels for META-NET’s annual conference event – META-FORUM. Among them not only researchers keen to discuss their work, but also representatives of language communities, national and European administration, and many businesses and industry leaders showcasing products and services at the industry showcase META-EXHIBITION which ran in parallel with the main event.

META-FORUM, as the name suggests, serves as a gathering point, a hub for these diverse communities of interest to meet and discuss developments, problems and opportunities presented by the challenges of a modern and multilingual Europe. This year’s event themed “A Strategy for Multilingual Europe” proved to be another exciting and fruitful meeting for the community.

Proceedings opened on the first day with an address on the “Technological Challenges of the European Multilingual Society” from Thibaut Kleiner a member of the cabinet of Neelie Kroes (Commissioner for the Digital Agenda and Vice-President of the European Commission) which gave a warning to the assembled delegates that the language technology community in Europe has to demonstrate that it can make the step from research to innovation or risk losing funding. The day went on to include a joint session with the European Federation of National Institutions for Language (EFNIL) on Europe and its languages including key results from the META-NET Language White Paper Series, a session on home grown European Language Technologies, and a joint session with LT Innovate on future directions in European LT including the Strategic Research Agenda for Multilingual Europe 2020. Day one finished off with the presentation of the annual META Prize and Seal of Recognition awards and presentations from the winners.

The second day’s agenda was as packed as the first. Sessions included a discussion on plans for LT research and innovation on the European level with Roberto Cencioni and Kimmo Rossi representing the European Commission. META-NET’s own META-SHARE infrastructure was showcased and future plans and directions were discussed with the assembled community representatives. Next, national representatives got a chance to present plans for LT research and innovation in member states and regions in the afternoon. META-FORUM 2012 was brought to a close with a keynote address from Fernando Pereira of Google who highlighted Google’s work to develop highly scalable language technology workflows and to create links between natural language text, external knowledge bases, and other types of data.

For those who were unable to attend, or if there was a presentation you want to see again or share with your colleagues who couldn’t make it, there’s good news! We’ve compiled a report summarising the main points of each session. The report provides a synopsis of each speaker’s presentation (including slides), their main points and relevant links to other resources. In addition you’ll also find links to videos of each presentation and panel discussion as well as the opening session by and the closing keynote address. Please have a look and share with your colleagues. Feel free to share your thoughts with us on the discussion forum, on social media through Facebook or Twitter, or email