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A Network of Excellence forging the
Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance

META-NET White Paper Series: English

The English Language in the Digital Age

Series editors: Georg Rehm, Hans Uszkoreit




  • Rafael Sidi (Vice President, Product Management for ScienceDirect, Elsevier): “As an information solution provider and academic publisher, we at Elsevier appreciate the great benefits that integrating language technology solutions into our platforms such as SciVerse can bring to researchers in allowing them to improve their research outcome and to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. We hope that the META-NET initiative, and in particular this white paper, will allow people working in different areas to gain an understanding of the significant potential of language technology solutions, and help to drive further research into this area.”
  • Douglas B. Kell (Research Chair in Bioanalytical Science, University of Manchester): “Language technology has the potential to add enormous value to the UK economy. Without language technology, and in particular text mining, there is a real risk that we will miss discoveries that could have significant social and economic impact.”
  • David Willetts (Minister of State for Universities and Science, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills): “Language is a fundamental part of society. Research into Language Technology has already led to the development of software that many people are familiar with, when searching the web, checking spelling in a word processor or booking cinema tickets over the telephone. 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.”

This Volume

The Series


This white paper is part of a series that promotes knowledge about language technology and its potential. It addresses journalists, politicians, language communities, educators and others. The availability and use of language technology in Europe varies between languages. Consequently, the actions that are required to further support research and development of language technologies also differ. The required actions depend on many factors, such as the complexity of a given language and the size of its community.

META-NET, a Network of Excellence funded by the European Commission, has conducted an analysis of current language resources and technologies in this white paper series. The analysis focusses on the 23 official European languages as well as other important national and regional languages in Europe. The results of this analysis suggest that there are tremendous deficits in technology support and significant research gaps for each language. The given detailed expert analysis and assessment of the current situation will help to maximise the impact of additional research.

As of November 2011, META-NET consists of 54 research centres in 33 European countries. META-NET is working with stakeholders from economy (software companies, technology providers and users), government agencies, research organisations, non-governmental organisations, language communities and European universities. Together with these communities, META-NET is creating a common technology vision and strategic research agenda for multilingual Europe 2020.