Newsletter #12 – April 2022

Dear reader,

More than 20,000 people from all over Europe have already participated in our survey on the digital support for European languages – but we are aiming higher! In order to include as many voices as possible in our strategic agenda and roadmap towards Digital Language Equality (DLE) by 2030, we have decided to keep the survey open longer. Please participate now and find out more in the ELE section of the newsletter, which also features a great example of the importance of DLE in the shape of an article on tackling the digital gaps for the Irish language.

Meanwhile, the ELG initiative continues its effort to make ELG’s machine translation models for Ukrainian available through a single, publicly accessible interface. The current state is described in the ELG section, followed by first details on this year’s META-FORUM 2022, which is only two months away.

Finally, we present Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), partner in the ELE project and one of the drivers of Language Technology for Catalan. Find out all about BSC’s research into the state of Spanish and Catalan in the digital world and how ELE helps "level the field for all languages in the digital arena" in the final section of this newsletter.

With best regards

Georg Rehm

Three minutes or less - that's how long it takes to participate our survey on technological support for digital languages in Europe. Click on the image and make your voice heard!
Language Technology and NLP in the news
Social media highlights
General news

The ELG initiative continues working on a web interface for its machine translation models that translate between Ukrainian and other languages, including English, French and Russian. Last week, the team met to discuss the current design of the interface, which targets mobile devices first, but will also be available on desktop, as well as the details of the process of calling services through ELG: Via the PythonSDK, several MT models by different providers that are hosted in or are available through ELG can be selected and used for translation. The test phase for the interface starts this week and the ELG team hopes to make the service available to the public as soon as possible.

Soon, this year’s META-FORUM takes place as well: On 8 and 9 June 2022, the next edition of the international conference series on powerful and innovative Language Technologies for the multilingual information society invites you to Brussels – or to participate virtually. META-FORUM 2022 will be a hybrid event, both in terms of the participation and the conference topics: As the ELG and ELE projects end at the same time, the results and current state of research of both initiatives will receive the shared focus. Learn more about “META-FORUM 2022 – JOINING THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE GRID” and register free of charge on our website. We hope to see you there!
Together Towards Digital Language Equality
8/9 June 2022, Brussels
Selected new tools and resources on the
European Language Grid
Nefnir Icelandic Lemmatizer – Nefnir is a rule-based lemmatizer for Icelandic text. It has been trained on the Database of Modern Icelandic Inflection, which contains over 6,000,000 tagged inflectional forms and their lemmas. Input is expected to be alternating words and POS tags (as produced by an Icelandic POS tagger) separated by white space. The tool can be downloaded as a Docker container or tried out with an example sentence in the ELG entry web page. Additionally, code samples are directly published in the catalogue as well. The software was added by the University of Reykjavík on 31 March 2022.
Selected new ELG members

ModelFront is a leading provider of translation risk prediction. Known in the research world as “quality estimation”, it's the core technology for the hybrid translation workflow: machine-approving machine translations at human accuracy. ModelFront is a production-strength system – secure, scalable, accuracy tested and with support for 100+ languages – available via a cloud console and API that can be integrated into any application. ModelFront can be used with any machine translation provider and integrated into any translation management system.

General news

Over 20,000 responses to our ELE survey on the digital support for European languages have reached us so far – but we are aiming higher: In order to achieve an unprecedented representation of the opinion of European citizens on the support of their languages in the digital world, we have extended the deadline for the survey. Please support this initiative by making your voice heard for the sake of Digital Language Equality in Europe and sharing the survey with as many people as possible. You can choose to fill in the survey in one of 35 languages on our ELE website, while many more European regional and minority languages can be selected within the survey itself. Please participate and share the survey with your friends, colleagues and networks.

“As much as people might want to use Irish in their daily lives, the technology is almost forcing them into English. That’s just a simple example of what’s going to happen across Europe, if something doesn’t change in terms of the technologies made available.” In an article by, Dr Teresa Lynn of the ADAPT Centre at the Dublin City University, partner of the ELE project, speaks about “tackling the digital gaps for the Irish language” and the ambitious initiative for Digital Language Equality in Europe. “If you’re in the field, you know that means there’s a lot of work to be done in the next eight years.”

A starting point is knowing the current state of play in terms of digital equality amongst European languages. For this, the ELE consortium is working on an interactive dashboard that presents and visualises the support that each European language receives in terms of technological resources and thus makes them comparable, pointing out the gaps and needs for underrepresented languages. The dashboard is developed by the Institute for Language and Speech Processing (ILSP) in Athens and will be featured on the European Language Grid once it is finished. Keep an eye open!

Finally, the deadline of the Call for Papers for the ELE workshop "Towards Digital Language Equality (TDLE2022)" at this year's LREC Conference in June has been extended. Click on the image below to find all details on the submission process, which is open until next Monday, 18 April 2022.
Call for Papers: Towards Digital Language Equality workshop at LREC 2022
Upcoming events
The ELE consortium Partner presentation

Barcelona Supercomputing Center

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is a public research centre located in Barcelona. It houses the MareNostrum, the most powerful supercomputer in Spain and one of the most powerful in Europe. BSC specialises in high-performance computing, aka HPC, and manages the Spanish Supercomputation Network, with the mission to offer supercomputing infrastructure and services to Spanish and European scientists, and to generate knowledge and technology in a variety of scientific fields. With this purpose, it actively participates in the main European HPC initiatives in close cooperation with other European supercomputing centres. With a total staff of more than 760 R&D experts and professionals, BSC has been successful in attracting talent. The main research lines, focused on the fields of Computer Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Computer Applications, are developed within the framework of the EU research funding programmes, Spanish and Catalan public research calls and collaborations with leading companies.

The Text Mining Unit at BSC has a consolidated experience in several NLP areas, such as massive language model building, biomedical text mining, machine translation and unsupervised learning for under-resourced languages and domains. It has been entrusted by the Spanish and the Catalan government with the mission to develop fundamental open-source resources and technologies for Spanish and Catalan. In connection with this, the TeMu Unit is currently in charge of two flagship projects at the national and regional level: the Spanish National Language Technology Plan, funded by the Spanish Secretariat of Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, and the AINA project, aimed at developing AI resources for Catalan, funded by the Catalan Digitalisation Department. In addition, the Unit participates in various EU funded international projects.

BSC in the ELE project

Within the ELE project, TeMu has been in charge of running a comprehensive survey about existing tools and resources for Spanish and Catalan, and of compiling two reports about how each of these languages are facing the digital challenge. Spanish, being one of the most spoken languages in the world, is not threatened by globalisation in the way Catalan and other languages are. However, the gap in the number of resources and tools compared to English is still quite large.

The full reports can be downloaded from the ELE website: in the Spanish and Catalan sections, respectively, and the complete registry of resources has been documented in the European Language Grid (ELG), where further details can be consulted and the resources accessed.

Maite Melero, Head of the Machine Translation Research group:

“Digitalisation in all spheres of life and the growing globalisation in the consumption of content, in the form of streaming platforms and social networks, put medium and small languages at a disadvantage, and pose a real threat to their survival. Initiatives such as ELE help level the field for all languages in the digital arena and bring us closer to the Language Equality goal.”
Next edition

The next ELT newsletter will be sent out on 26 April 2022. Until then, follow our ELT social media accounts (as linked below) for the latest news! 

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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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