Newsletter #2 – October 2021

Dear reader,

As soon as August ends and the summer break in the Northern hemisphere fades out, things start to pick up speed quite rapidly – including our two European Language Technology projects. Since the release of our first ELT Newsletter, the European Language Equality project has held a General Assembly with more than 80 representatives, handed in two deliverables (more on that below), celebrated the European Day of Languages and is soon represented at the conference of the European Federation of National Institutions for Languages (EFNIL). 

The European Language Grid can also report some major developments: After months of intensive work, the ELG team is proud to announce an update of the ELG Python SDK! In addition, ELG was presented at the workshop of the Spanish Society for Natural Language Processing (SEPLN) during the 6th Spanish Congress of Informatics (CEDI 20/21) to positive feedback. You can learn more about all of these subjects in the sections below.

We are also happy to announce that the registration for the META-FORUM 2021 conference, taking place from 15 to 17 November, is now open (as usual, free of charge). All relevant information and the registration link can be found on the ELG website .

Finally, we have extended the deadlines for our LT surveys addressing both LT users and LT developers until Thursday, Ocotber the 7th. The input generated through these surveys will help shape the future of Language Technology funding and support in Europe for the upcoming future – have your say now and please share the two surveys with your contacts! 

For now, enjoy our second newsletter and feel free to get back to us with your feedback.

With best regards

Georg Rehm

Language Technology and NLP in the news
Social media highlights
General news

"[The] ELG platform is seen as an opportunity for visibility and collaboration (for example, by adding annotation services). Sharing resources on the platform provides visibility.” 

Increased visibility for providers is one of the many advantages of the European Language Grid, some of which Marta Villegas from the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre has gathered in her summary of the discussion panel from the ELG session at the conference of the Spanish Society of Natural Language Processing (SEPLN 2021). 

The ELG workshop, at which Georg Rehm (DFKI) presented the ELG platform, was held virtually on 23 September and represents one of the many national conferences in which the ELG is featured and discussed. The next workshop will focus on the Czech Republic and Slovakia – check out the calendar further down!

On the technical side, the ELG platform now also features a Python SDK! In our blog, we have collected all relevant information and instruction on how to make the most of it. Click the link below to learn all about the ELG Python SDK and how to use it!

New blog articles
With the Python SDK, the European Language Grid provides tools to facilitate the creation of an ELG service from your Language Technology (LT) tool in Python. It is very easy to convert your LT tool running on your computer to an ELG service accessible and usable by everyone. In our ELG blog, we show you the different options that the Python SDK offers for building your ELG service, and when to use them.
Selected new tools and resources on the
European Language Grid
  • HENSOLDT ANALYTICS Named Entity Detection for Bulgarian – a named entity detection engine that provides classification of named entities of following types: Person, Location, Organization and set of other still developed types. This tool was added by HENSOLDT ANALYTICS on 20 September 2021.
  • Ume Saami lexical data from Álgu database with modernized spelling – The files in this archive contain several processed versions of Ume Saami dictionary data originating from (Schlachter 1958). The data has been retrieved from the Álgu database and checked against the original dictionary for headword variants. The final versions have the headword mechanically converted to (approximate) the current Ume Saami orthography. In addition to an alphabetized list, a reverse-alphabetized file is provided. The resource was automatically harvested from Zenodo.
  • EDDI - Open Source Chatbot Platform – A scalable open source chatbot platform: Build multiple Chatbots with NLP, Behavior Rules, API Connector, Templating. Developed in Java, provided with Docker, orchestrated with Kubernetes or Openshift. The tool was added by LABS.AI on 17 September 2021.

Selected new ELG members

  • The Institute of the Estonian Language is a national Research and Development institution whose goal is to contribute to the long-term survival of the Estonian language. The Institute researches modern Estonian, the history of the Estonian language, Estonian dialects and Finno-Ugric cognate languages. In addition, the Institute has a Competence Centre for Natural Language Processing whose goal is to ensure the digital sustainability of the Estonian language by developing and integrating language technology resources and making them available to as many people as possible.

  • Hensoldt Analytics (previously SAIL LABS) is a global provider of Open Source Intelligence systems and Natural Language Processing technologies, such as Automatic Speech Recognition, which are key elements for media monitoring and analysis. HENSOLDT Analytics focuses on end-to-end systems and tools that can efficiently extract and analyze information from open sources and turn them into actionable intelligence, employing cutting-edge technologies across multiple languages, geographies and sources that have been developed with a focus on the requirements of situational awareness.

  • The Human Language and Accessibility Technologies Group (HULAT) is composed of a multidisciplinary team of PhDs and professionals in the field of information technologies. The group is part of the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. They participate in R&D projects related to human language technologies, information retrieval and extraction in several application domains, question answering systems, usability and accessibility of user interfaces.
General news

84 participants from the entire ELE consortium joined the General Assembly held on 17th September, at which the core partners of the project presented the current state of the work packages and the next steps that need to be undertaken on the road to a strategic research agenda for digital language equality. To everyone’s surprise, the meeting ended right on time with a closing statement by coordinator Andy Way from Dublin City University, sending everyone off both into the second half of the project runtime and the weekend.

With September ending, the ELE consortium published Deliverable D1.2 – the report on the state of the art in Language Technology and Language-centric AI. Researched and written by the team at the HiTZ Center of the University of the Basque Country, this report gives splendid insight and serves as a great resource for information on the current developments in Language Technology in Europe. You can find it online on our ELE website – it’s well worth a look!

On 26th September, the European Day of Languages was celebrated for the 20th time. Hosted by the European Council, the EDL celebrates the conviction that linguistic diversity is a tool for achieving greater intercultural understanding and a key element in the rich cultural heritage of the continent – a conviction the ELE project shares soundly. A special website was created by the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML), including a poster about 20 things you (possibly) did not know about the European languages. Have a look and learn something new – for instance, that more than half of Europe is bilingual!

Only three days are left until ELE coordinator Andy Way presents the project at the 18th conference of the European Federation of National Institutions of Languages in Cavtat, Croatia. Registration for the non-public event has closed, but we will make sure to inform about all relevant proceedings. Until then – have a great week!
New blog articles
It is necessary to make digital spaces more accessible and equal when it comes to languages other than English. Wales, for example, has made great strides towards revitalising and supporting the usage of the Welsh language. The ELE and ELG projects aim to support efforts like these across 70+ European languages. How exactly do they help to strengthen Europe’s linguistic diversity? Find out in our newest blog post!
Coming up

October 18: 10th Regional ELG Workshop: Czech Republic, Slovakia (online)
October 26-27: DG TRAD Conference
November 8-9: W3C/SMPTE Joint Workshop on Professional Media Production on the Web
November 15-17: META-FORUM 2021 (online)

The ELE consortium Partner presentation


The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) is a non-profit public-private partnership with research facilities in Kaiserslautern, Saarbrücken and Bremen, a project office in Berlin, a Laboratory in Niedersachsen and branch offices in Lübeck and Trier. In the field of innovative commercial software technology using Artificial Intelligence, DFKI is the leading research center in Germany. Research and development projects are conducted in 24 research departments, nine competence centers and eight living labs.

The Berlin-based research department for Speech and Language Technology (SLT) aims to advance the use of human languages by machines and to create and improve IT-solutions that benefit from language use. The research areas include language technology, novel computational techniques for processing text, speech and knowledge, information and knowledge management solutions, content production and natural communication, with a focus on the areas of text analytics, machine translation, human-robot interaction and digital content creation.

The team of Prof. Dr. Georg Rehm coordinates and co-coordinates the ELG and the ELE projects, respectively. Georg Rehm:

“We are proud and happy to coordinate ELG and co-coordinate ELE, playing a leading role in driving and shaping both projects, which can support and benefit from each other in many ways: A successful European cloud platform for language technology is the only way to achieve digital language equality, which, in turn, is our main goal in the ELE project. But the strategies developed in ELE will also help all members and contributors of the ELG platform in terms of funding and international representation – a win-win situation for the European Language Technology community!”

Next edition
The next ELT newsletter will be sent out on 2 November 2021. Until then, follow our ELT social media accounts (as linked below) for the latest news!

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Why did I get this email?
The European Language Grid is an initiative funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement № 825627 (ELG).
The European Language Equality Project has received funding from the European Union under the grant agreement № LC-01641480 – 101018166 (ELE)
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