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A Network of Excellence forging the
Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance


META-NET in Industry Journal "Multilingual"

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2011-04-18 16:02

We're very happy that our article about META-NET, Multilingual Europe: A challenge for language tech, has been published in MultiLingual (issue April/May 2011, page 51/52). 

Speaking one’s mother tongue, be it Latvian, Hungarian, or Portuguese, must not become a social or economic disadvantage in the networked European information society of the twenty-first century. Many European languages run the risk of becoming victims of the digital age, as they are under-represented and under-resourced. Huge regional market opportunities remain untapped because of language barriers.

The full text of the article is available online.

Workshop at GSCL 2011: "Language Technology for a Multilingual Europe"

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2011-04-05 11:18

The Workshop aims at bringing various groups together who are concerned with the broad topic of "Language Technology for a multilingual Europe". This encompasses on the one hand representatives from research and development in the field of language technologies, on the other hand users from quite divers areas. Two examples of the application of language technology is (automatic / machine) translation, and processing of texts from the humanities with methods from language technology, like automatic topic indexing, text mining, integrating numerous texts and additional information across languages etc.

These kinds of application areas and research and development in language technology have in common that they rely on resources (lexica, corpora, grammars, ontologies etc.), or that they produce these resources. A multilingual Europe, being supported by language technology, is only possible if an adequate, interoperable infrastructure of resources, including the related tooling, is available for all European languages. In addition it is necessary that the aforementioned and other communities of developers and users of language technology stand as one, homogenous community. Only in this way it will be possible to assure the long-term political acceptance of the topic "language technology" in Europe.

The workshop is co-organised by two GSCL working groups ("Text Technology" and "Machine Translation") and META-NET. META-NET, a Network of Excellence consisting of 44 research centres from 31 countries, is dedicated to building the technological foundations of a multilingual European information society. META-NET is forging META, the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance.

The full CFP can be found on the GSCL 2011 website.

Article on META-NET in LIBREAS

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2011-04-04 10:34

Together with Aljoscha Burchardt and Felix Sasaki we wrote an article on META-NET that was published in LIBREAS – Library Ideas, Das mehrsprachige Europa: eine Herausforderung für die Sprachtechnologie. The article is written in German but of course you can use one of the freely available high-quality Machine Translation engines integrated into your browser and operating system of choice to translate it into any other language instantly.*


* We're working on it.

Vision Document: Call for Discussion

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2011-03-24 14:24

An important intermediate result of the META-VISION process is the document The Future European Multilingual Information Society (PDF). This document is joint work by roughly 100 representatives of the European and also international Language Technology landscape. The document presents the consolidated findings of the three META-NET Vision Groups.

You're invited to read and to circulate the document and to discuss it and to provide further feedback and ideas in our online discussion forum.

META-NET celebrates the Opening of the W3C German-Austrian Office at DFKI

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2011-02-03 12:21

On February 10th, META-NET will be among those celebrating the launch of the W3C German-Austrian Office at its new location: DFKI Berlin. The W3C German-Austrian Office launch event will be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how European research and various industries can contribute and, at the same time, benefit from the emerging W3C standard computing platform that will make Web apps even more powerful than they are now, available everywhere, for every user, in every culture.

Like META-NET, W3C is a place for community building with regard to multilingualism. Through its Internationalization Activity, W3C has gained long-term achievements for making the World Wide Web truly world wide. Hence, the W3C German-Austrian Office being hosted by DFKI, the coordinating partner of the META-NET Network of Excellence, will strengthen the relations between the Language Technology and the Web technology communities and will lead to new alliances for the multilingual information society on and via the Web.

Please register online if you are interested in attending the event.

Grammatical Framework: Summer School

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2011-01-25 18:11


Our colleagues from the MOLTO project organise a Summer School on GF, Grammatical Framework. Please find the official announcement and call for participation below.

GF Summer School

Frontiers of Multilingual Technologies

Barcelona, 15-26 August 2011

GF, Grammatical Framework, is a multilingual grammar formalism based on the idea of a shared abstract syntax and mappings between the abstract syntax and concrete languages. GF has hundreds of users all over the world. The summer school is a collaborative effort to create grammars of new languages in GF and advanced multilingual GF applications. The new grammars are added to the Resource Grammar Library, which currently has 18 languages. Applications are parsing and generation programs compiled from GF grammars and usable as parts of programs written in other languages: e.g. Haskell, Java, Python, and JavaScript. GF applications can also be run on Android phones. Moreover, the school will address hybrid systems combining GF with statistical machine translation (SMT).

Topics: Introductory and Advanced Tutorials on GF, Type Theory, SMT, Parsing and Multilingual Application Development

Registration and Contact:

Location: Vertex Building, UPC, Barcelona

Organizers: O. Caprotti, L. Màrquez, A. Ranta, J. Saludes, S. Xambó

Travel Grants: Via application procedure

Sponsors: CLT Gothenburg, MOLTO EU FP7-ICT-247914, UPC.


EC announces "SME Initiative on Digital Content and Languages"

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-12-08 15:00

The European Commission will announce a new call for proposals under objective 4.1. "SME Initiative on Digital Content and Languages" in February 2011. The SME-DCL Call makes available 35 MEUR funding for consortia that must include at least two SMEs, but which may of course include other types of organisations as appropriate for the proposal. The overall goal is to generate added value from trading, pooling and exploiting data (including language resources) in order to produce novel technologies, products and services.

In connection with the SME-DCL Call, an Information & Networking Day will be held on 21 January 2011 in the Jean Monnet Conference Centre in Luxembourg. For details on the agenda and how to register please check

META-FORUM 2010: a short report

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-12-06 10:22


META-FORUM 2010 took place on November 17 and 18, 2010 in the European capital, Brussels. This was the first large outreach event organised by META-NET, a Network of Excellence forging the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance (META). Against the backdrop of a cold and foggy autumn day outside, the historic “Theatre” hall of the Hotel Le Plaza provided a fitting venue for the event and welcome respite from the elements outside. Here, assembled for META-FORUM 2010, the inaugural conference of the META-FORUM series of events, were more than 250 participants from a total of 37 countries – a turnout far exceeding our expectations.

As the name suggests, META-FORUM serves as a gathering point, a hub for diverse communities of interest to meet and discuss developments, problems and opportunities presented by the challenges of a modern and multilingual Europe. In front of the Theatre, the foyer played host to many diverse presentations from ten partner projects highlighting their plans and details of collaboration with META-NET. Alongside these presentations, software demonstrations from within META-NET itself complemented the picture by showcasing the open resource exchange infrastructure META-SHARE, the Virtual Information Centre and the first results of the Machine Translation research arm of the META-NET initiative.

In his welcome address, MEP and former foreign minister of Lithuania Algirdas Saudargas, conveyed the clear and direct message that language must be handled with the utmost care because it is a strong but also fragile band that ties together communities, social groups, and even nations. In his address Roberto Cencioni (European Commission, Luxembourg) echoed this sentiment with his advice to stakeholders from Language Technology research and development that this highly fragmented sector has to join forces to reach critical mass and that it has to improve its credibility and visibility. Hans Uszkoreit (DFKI, Germany), the coordinator of META-NET, took up the same topic when he introduced the three lines of action the initiative pursues to reach exactly these strategic goals: building bridges to neighbouring technology fields, designing and implementing META-SHARE, the open resource exchange facility, and building a homogeneous European LT community with a shared vision and strategic research agenda.

The first invited keynote speech highlighted accessibility and multilingualism as key challenges for the audiovisual industry in the digital age. In her speech, Yota Georgakopoulou (European Captioning Institute, UK) left no doubt that in the near future there will be an immense economic need within the audiovisual sector to make use of various Language Technology applications.

In the session entitled “From Shared Visions to a Strategic Research Agenda” industry representatives and language professionals that had been invited by META-NET into three think tanks – Vision Groups – presented the results of their first two rounds of meetings. These presentations then served as a platform for introducing the panel session that followed. The session was lively and informative and raised some interesting points of view and new insights. The discussion is now continued in an online forum and will, together with input and feedback collected through several other means, ultimately lead to the vision paper “European Multilingual Information Society 2020” and a Strategic Research Agenda. If you are interested in the needs and visions that have been and will be further discussed in the Vision Groups, you are encouraged to visit the online forum where you can join in and contribute to the discussions.


Georg Artelsmair (European Patent Office, Germany) presented recent developments concerning the machine translation policy at the European Patent Office in the second invited keynote speech. The EPO has become a heavy user of multilingual Language Technology in recent years and they anticipate that the demand will only increase. Concluding the first day, Bill Dolan (Microsoft Research, USA) highlighted the need for and the opportunities to be gained through close cooperation between industry and the research community, especially regarding the importance of sharing not just technology but also data.

During the second (half) day of META-FORUM 2010 the floor was given over to companies that either employ or build Language Technologies. Seven industry representatives formulated their needs, problems, and wishes for European LT research and development. In a first step to help strengthen the industry community, Jochen Hummel (ESTeam GmbH, Germany) introduced the Language Technology Business Association (LTBA), which is currently in a preparatory phase and will be officially launched at the beginning of 2011. John Hendrik Weitzmann (Creative Commons Initiative, Germany) and Prodromos Tsiavos (Creative Commons Initiative, Greece, UK, Norway) addressed some of the problems and solutions regarding legal issues in basic and industrial research on Language Technology. Their talk highlighted how best to approach the sharing of Language Resources through META-SHARE.

The closing keynote address from Swaran Lata (Department of Information Technology, Government of India, New Delhi) provided an overview of numerous multilingual initiatives in India in the past 20 years. She presented how India, with its 22 languages (and various different scripts), can serve as a blueprint to European initiatives towards multilingualism and LT supported language initiatives.

META-FORUM 2010 may be over, but the work continues in earnest. The next META-FORUM will take place in Budapest on June 27th and 28th 2011. Details will be published as they become available. In the meantime there are many ways in which you can keep in touch and stay informed about our work. The Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance, META, has launched. You can join online and please get involved in the discussions in our forums which will help continue the work begun at META-FORUM 2010. Find us on Facebook and Linked In to keep up to date with the latest news and developments, and to connect with other members. The META-NET website is regularly updated with new content and news. Here you can also find the calendar of events not just for META and META-NET but also the whole Language Technology community so check back regularly for updates.

We look forward to seeing you in Budapest next year!

Blog: Being Multilingual

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-10-25 20:04

Madalena Cruz-Ferreira just started a new blog, Being Multilingual, in which she wants to discuss what it means to be multilingual. Madalena thinks that multilingualism is often misunderstood and that these myths and misconceptions need to be dealt with. 

Another crucial point Madalena notices is that it is often the languages used by multilinguals that typically receive the most attention. In contrast, Being Multilingual will focus on the people, as languages do not exist independently of their users: "Multilingualism is not about what several languages can do to people, it is about what people can do with several languages."

META-FORUM 2010: Programme published

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-10-18 12:48

META-NET is proud to announce the first META-FORUM conference event, entitled “Challenges for Multilingual Europe”. META-FORUM 2010 takes place on November 17 and 18, right in the heart of the European capital, Brussels.

This event will provide a focal point for bringing together Language Technology experts from research and industry, users and also providers of Language Technology solutions, along with language communities, educators and local and European policy makers. The first steps towards building a strategic research agenda for Language Technologies will be presented at META-FORUM 2010, along with a demonstration of META-SHARE, META-NET’s open resource exchange infrastructure. META-FORUM will also play host to an information session detailing important information on upcoming calls from the European Commission.


META-FORUM serves as a gathering point for diverse communities of interest to meet and discuss developments, problems and opportunities presented by the challenges and opportunities of a modern and multilingual Europe. However, META-FORUM is not just a great networking opportunity. The interactive sessions, panel discussions and the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance provide the perfect platform for you to have your say and speak directly with decision makers, researchers, policy makers and more.

Got an opinion on Multilingual Europe? Let us know at META-FORUM 2010 – Challenges for Multilingual Europe!

Interest in the conference is beyond our expectations. If you would like to participate, please register your attendance as soon as possible.

Collaboration between CLARIN and META-NET

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-08-17 09:49

In August 2010 the coordinators of the EU-funded projects CLARIN and META-NET signed a memorandum of understanding. To quote the document:

The Network of Excellence “Technologies for the Multilingual European Information Society”, henceforth META-NET, established by DG INFSO of the European Commission (EC) under Framework Programme 7, and the “Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure”, henceforth CLARIN, a consortium established under the Research Infrastructures Programme of the EC, recognise the complementarity of their objectives and declare their intent for multi-level collaboration.

CLARIN and META-NET are two complementary initiatives that have identified shared interests and approaches with respect to methods and instruments in the area of language resource infrastructures concerning both technical solutions and organizational models. Both projects aim at describing language resources with appropriate metadata, as well as their sharing, maintenance and reuse. While the fact that the two projects target different user communities may call for different metadata profiles, CLARIN and META-NET envisage an open metadata domain of data and tools, based on interoperable metadata descriptions for categories of data and tools relevant to their joint user communities. The purpose of interoperable metadata descriptions is to enable cooperation, the possibility to link data objects and/or their descriptions, the exchange of data of interest to both communities and the way towards fostering standardisation and interoperability of data and tools, wherever possible and necessary.

New version of META-NET website online

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-07-30 18:00

Today we launched a new version of the META-NET website: the core content is now available in all 11 languages represented by the META-NET consortium. In addition there's now a section called META Events with information on previous and upcoming events such as, for example, Translingual Europe 2010 and our Networking Session at ICT 2010. Let us know in the comments what you think of the new version.

META-NET Networking Session at ICT 2010

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-07-22 17:00

From September 27-29 ICT 2010 will take place in Brussels. At this conference META-NET organises a Networking Session, Language Technology for a Multilingual Europe, which will take place on Tuesday, September 28 (9:00-10:30). Additional details concerning the programme will be announced soon.

Translingual Europe 2010

by Georg Rehm — last modified 2010-07-16 16:45
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On June 7 the third edition of the Translingual Europe conference series took place in Berlin. This invite-only research and industry event was organised by META-NET along with another EU-funded project, EuroMatrixPlus.

Translingual Europe 2010

Interest in the conference was beyond our expectations, with ca. 150 participants Translingual Europe reached a new all time high. Slides of all presentations are available online.

As a special service, META-NET also offers complete videos of all talks. These are available at

On the META facebook page we provide a photo gallery with a few impressions from the event.