Background: The idea of a multilingual Europe is becoming truly a reality, as sophisticated monolingual, cross-lingual and multilingual language technologies (LT) have been created and have immensely optimized the translation quality and language/topic coverage in real-life situations.
However, a major challenge resides in respecting the plural diversity of Europe residing in its languages and cultures yet avoiding all forms of education, research and business fragmentation linked to those same assets. Another is the relationship between the EU’s language technologies for the Digital Single Market and its connection with other language markets, which is also a major opportunity the field had in the last couple of years.
Specific Challenge: The challenge is to facilitate multilingual online communication in developing countries specifically in the domain of education, and enable it with the technologies developed in the EU, currently leading in this field, by taking down existing language barriers. These barriers hamper wider penetration of cross-border education, commerce, social communication and exchange of cultural content.
Additionally, current machine translation solutions typically perform well only for a limited number of EU target languages, and for a given text type. The potential for a value added global action in creating access to educational content with machine translation acting as a bridge between national educational systems is enormous.
Specific Solution: The Knowledge 4 All Foundation solved the problem of mass translation in education by developing TransLexy, a robust service that provides translation from English into nine European and two BRIC, languages, namely German (DE), Italian (IT), Portuguese (PT), Dutch (DU), Bulgarian (BG), Greek (EL), Polish (PL), Czech (CS), Croatian (CR), Russian (RU) and Chinese (ZH).
The platform is intended to overcome the existing language barriers in education, and can deal with huge volumes, high variety of languages and education text styles, and deliver results in reasonable time (in most cases, instantly).
Moving forward: The Foundation wishes to further support and lead to improved quality and coverage of automatic machine translation around the world. Special focus is on developing countries languages (both as source and target languages) that have “fragmentary” or “weak/no” machine translation support for educational text.
The aim is to launch interdisciplinary work leading to overcoming the language barrier and progressively, to reach high quality for all language combinations and translation directions, and cater for the educational text types and use in any educational context.
Expected impact: We wish to initiate a programme of ground-breaking actions that will deliver, by 2025:
- An online international educational market free of language barriers, delivering automated translation quality, equal to currently best performing language pair/direction in the EU, in most relevant use situations and for at least 50% of developing countries languages
- Significantly improve the quality, coverage and technical maturity of automatic translation for at least half of the developing countries languages that currently have “weak or no support” or “fragmentary support” of machine translation solutions
- Establish, attract and train a community of hundreds of contributors of language resources and language technology tools (from all EU and UNESCO Member States)
- Adopt and support the Foundations’ platform for sharing, maintaining and making use of language resources and tools
- Establishing widely agreed benchmarks for machine translation quality and stimulating competition between methods and systems
- Directly contribute to the implementation of the “Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017”.