Europe’s diversity in terms of culture and communication sets it apart from other major players in the global field of Language Technology (LT) that usually concentrate on single languages. The number of European languages provides a unique opportunity to work together and to learn from each other in the process of developing digital language tools. In order to access this potential, it is crucial that every official, unofficial and minority language is equally represented in the digital world and LT landscape. This is one of the reasons why Digital Language Equality (DLE, further described here) is an important goal that needs to be actively worked towards. One of the main aspects of this work is handling the fragmentation of the European LT landscape that is still prevalent. The ELG project addresses this issue by building a platform that aims to host all European LT resources – the European Language Grid (ELG). Having one unified hub will support the LT community greatly. Developers will have an easier time getting the word out about a product, while consumers are more likely to hear of and be able to use it. Furthermore, a centralised platform will give LT creators a broader reach and encourage collaboration, communication and learning from one another.
While ELG is bringing the LT landscape together, it is also necessary to combat the existing language inequality actively and directly. This is where ELE comes in: During the runtime of the project, 70+ European languages are being researched and analysed to find out where exactly the inequalities lie. This effort spans Europe’s official, and many unofficial and minority languages. By the end of the project, a strategic agenda and roadmap detailing the best approach to the existing discrepancies will be presented. This research will lay important groundwork for a long-term funding program that will be able to provide support based on the discovered disparities.
ELE and ELG are working in tandem to combat the digital inequality found among European languages. ELG is establishing a platform and marketplace to bring the LT community together. Meanwhile, ELE is dedicated to understanding which aspects need to be focused on to reach DLE by 2030 as well as establishing a funding program as a tool to ease the way.
The goal of DLE is only possible with the ELE research as a blueprint and the ELG platform as the facilitator of that vision. These combined efforts aim to create an environment where the barriers that currently fragment the European LT landscape fall and languages are able to flourish alongside and in interaction with each other.