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META-NET Strategic Research Agenda for Multilingual Europe 2020

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European Insights and Opinions

Latvia: “For such small languages like Latvian keeping up with the ever increasing pace of time and technological development is crucial. The only way to ensure future existence of our language is to provide its users with equal opportunities as the users of larger languages enjoy. Therefore being on the forefront of modern technologies is our opportunity.” — Valdis Dombrovskis (Prime Minister of Latvia)

Denmark: “If we have the ambition to use the Danish language in the technological universe of the future, an effort must be made now to maintain and further develop the knowledge and expertise that we already have. Otherwise we run the risk that only people who are fluent in English will profit from the new generations of web, mobile and robot technology which are up and coming.” — Sabine Kirchmeier-Andersen (Director of the Danish Language Council)

Portugal: “Language technology is of utmost importance for the consolidation of Portuguese as a language of global communication in the information society.” — Pedro Passos Coelho (Prime Minister of Portugal)

Czech Republic: “META-NET brings a significant contribution to the technological support for languages of Europe and as such will play an indispensable role in the development of multilingual European culture and society.” — Ivan Wilhelm (Deputy Minister for Education, Youth and Sport)

Greece: “Further support to language technologies safeguards the presence of Greek language and culture in the digital environment, while at the same time promoting development and fostering communication among citizens within the Information Society.” — George Babiniotis (Minister of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs)

European Commission: “Having worked on automatic media analysis for many years and in tens of languages, we are painfully aware of the lack of text analysis tools and resources in most languages. META-NET’s analysis is very accurate. Language Technology is a key enabling ingredient for future generations of IT. Languages for which no tools and resources will exist soon will not participate in the next major technological developments.” — Ralf Steinberger ( Joint Research Centre, IPSC – GlobeSec – Open-Source Text Information Mining and Analysis, Ispra, Italy)

Germany: “Global communications are a significant success factor for a globally active company. Accordingly, their importance is steadily increasing with the increased globalisation and growing complexity of international business. In this context, the design of effective and efficient language management processes makes an important contribution. The development of language technologies already plays a decisive role today and will continue to do so in the future. META-NET makes a pivotal contribution in the area of reseach and maintenance of networks with developers and users of language technologies.” — Johannes Bursch (Head of Corporate Language Management, Daimler AG)

Estonia: “If we do not implement the development plan for language technology or do not cooperate with other countries in the same direction, in the future Estonian will be marginalised in information society.” — Development Plan of the Estonian Language 2011–2017

Finland: “Without languages we could not communicate. The META-NET network is a valuable support for a multilingual Europe.” — Alexander Stubb (Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade)

Croatia: “Language technologies play a crucial role in showcasing the linguistic richness of Europe.” — Milena Žic Fuchs (Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Chair of the Standing Committee for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation)

France: “META-NET provides an invaluable contribution to the development of a genuine European strategy in support to multilingualism, based on existing technologies while encouraging the development of new innovative technologies.” — Xavier North (Délégué Général à la Langue Française et aux Langues de France)

Malta: “The technology support for the Maltese language should serve our language to be continuously cultivated, used and placed on the same level as other languages.” — Dolores Cristina (Minister for Education and Employment)

Lithuania: “Conserving Lithuanian for future generations is a responsibility of the whole of the European Union. How we proceed with developing information technology will pretty much determine the future of the Lithuanian language.” — Andrius Kubilius (Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania)

Ireland: “Language technology is no longer a luxury for most European languages – it is now essential to their survival as viable means of expression across the whole range of areas from business to the arts, and this is as much the case for Irish as any other European language.” — Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh (CEO, Foras na Gaeilge)

Hungary: “META-NET is making a significant contribution to innovation, research and development in Europe and to an effective implementation of the European idea.” — Valéria Csépe (Deputy General Secretary of Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Sweden: “High-quality language technology may be the most effective means of preserving the linguistic diversity of Europe. Being able to use all languages fully in modern society is a question of democracy. In this connection META-NET fulfils a central, even crucial, function.” — Lena Ekberg (Swedish Language Council)

Luxembourg: “This is a European challenge of enormous importance!” — Roman Jansen-Winkeln (CTO, Belingoo Media Group)

Slovenia: “It is imperative that language technologies for Slovene are developed systematically if we want Slovene to flourish also in the future digital world.” — Danilo Türk (President of the Republic of Slovenia)

Iceland: “Language technology is an essential tool in a variety of linguistic research, and supports the official Icelandic policy of promoting the national language in all aspects of communication.” — Guðrún Kvaran (Chair of the Icelandic Language Council)

Spain: “I like the spirit of the agenda!” — Juanjo Bermudez (Founder, Lingua e-Solutions SL)

Netherlands: “It remains extremely important that citizens can use their native language in all circumstances, including when they deal with modern ICT and leisure devices. But usually English speaking people are the first to benefit from such an evolution. Not only does this pose a danger of reducing the overall functionality of a language (and an impoverishment of an entire culture), but also it threatens those groups in society that do not master the universal language. Therefore, R&D programmes that support the local language are needed. Also in the future, the Dutch Language Union will continue to emphasise this issue.” — Linde van den Bosch (General Secretary of the Dutch Language Union, 2004–2012)

Sweden: “The Priority Research Themes hit the bull’s eye. Let’s all hope for the best for the report.” — Jens Erik Rasmussen (New Business Manager, Mikro Værkstedet)

Romania: “Linguistic technologies represent a central element of the EU, because languages themselves occupy a central place in the functioning of the EU.” — Leonard Orban (former European Commissioner for Multilingualism)

UK: “The work of META-NET is an important step towards a future in which Language Technology will be all around us, allowing us to collaborate, conduct business and share knowledge with friends and colleagues, whether or not we speak the same language.” — David Willetts (Minister of State for Universities and Science, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Poland: “Language technologies are more and more present in our everyday life. For their presence to be rational and functional, for it to serve the needs of the economy, as well as the social and cultural life well, further large-scale work in this area is needed.” — Michał Kleiber (President of the Polish Academy of Sciences)

Germany: “Europe’s multilingualism and our scientific expertise are the perfect prerequisites for significantly advancing the challenge that language technology poses. META-NET opens up new opportunities for the development of ubiquitous multilingual technologies.” — Annette Schavan (Minister of Education and Research)

See for additional quotes and testimonials.

“The Commission will […] work with stakeholders to develop a new generation of web-based applications and services, including for multilingual content and services, by supporting standards and open platforms through EU-funded programmes.” – A Digital Agenda for Europe, p. 24

“Everybody must have the chance to communicate efficiently in the enlarged EU. This does not only affect those who already are multilingual but also those who are monolingual or linguistically less skilled.

The media, new technologies and human and automatic translation services can bring the increasing variety of languages and cultures in the EU closer to citizens and provide the means to cross language barriers. They can also play an important role to reduce those barriers and allow citizens, companies and national administrations to exploit the opportunities of the single market and the globalising economy.

Faced with the globalising online economy and ever-increasing information in all imaginable languages, it is important that citizens access and use information and services across national and language barriers, through the internet and mobile devices. Information and communication technologies (ICT) need to be language-aware and promote content creation in multiple languages.” – Multilingualism: An Asset for Europe and a Shared Commitment, p. 12 f.

“The Council of the European Union […] encourage[s] the development of language technologies, in particular in the field of translation and interpretation, firstly by promoting cooperation between the Commission, the Member States, local authorities, research bodies and industry, and secondly by ensuring convergence between research programmes, the identification of areas of application and the deployment of the technologies across all EU languages.” – Council Resolution of 21 November 2008 on a European strategy for multilingualism
“The language of Europe is translation.” – Umberto Eco (1993)