The overall vision and unifying goal of the ELE Programme is to achieve complete digital language equality in Europe by 2030. The programme was prepared jointly with many relevant stakeholders from the European Language Technology (LT), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computational Linguistics and language-centric AI communities, as well as with representatives of relevant initiatives and associations, and language communities.
The ELE Programme is foreseen to be a shared, long-term, coordinated and collaborative Language Technology funding programme tailored to Europe’s needs, demands and values — among others, multilingualism and language equality in general. In terms of sharing, the EU has the role of providing resources for coordinating the programme, for providing shared infrastructures, for maintaining the scientific goals and programme principles etc. On the other hand, the participating countries have the role of providing resources for the development of technologies and datasets for their own languages. Key goals are to reduce the technology gap between English and all other European languages and to address the lack of available language data – this is true for all European languages except English. The ELE Programme focuses upon openness: open source, open access and open standards as well as interoperability and standardisation. It makes use of and strengthens existing as well as emerging infrastructures and data spaces. With regard to the scientific dimension, the ELE Programme attempts to achieve the goal of Deep Natural Language Understanding by 2030. A key emphasis is on the creation of large open access language models for all European languages including the creation of datasets, multilingual models, models that include symbolic knowledge, models that include discourse features as well as grounding and other sophisticated features that are currently out of reach for existing state of the art technologies. The ELE Programme is foreseen to have a runtime of nine years, divided into three phases of three years each. In addition to the overall coordination, the ELE Programme tackles the following overarching themes: Language Modelling, Data and Knowledge, Machine Translation, Text Understanding and Speech. All of these interconnected themes focus upon the socio-political goal of establishing digital language equality in Europe and on the scientific goal of Deep Natural Language Understanding, both by 2030. The ELE Programme is designed in such a way that it makes optimal use of infrastructures and services developed in relevant other European initiatives.
The global NLP market is estimated to reach 341.7B $ by 2030. In contrast, the modest investment needed to implement the ELE Programme will not only bring about digital language equality in Europe, it will also move European research and industry in this field into a dominating position for years to come.