The activities under this topic will support technology-enabled multilingualism for an inclusive Digital Single Market. Every European should be able to access content and engage in written and spoken communication activities without language being a barrier. Content and services, such as those provided by public administrations, are not available in multiple languages. Linguistic fragmentation means that many citizens and businesses cannot fully engage in online activities and benefit from online content and services. The sheer volume of content, the diversity of content types and modalities as well as the diversity of languages in Europe makes the effective roll-out and provision of multilingual solutions challenging.

Scope

The actions will address technological challenges (for language resources and interoperable language tools) and support coordination and networking by exploiting excellences and synergies with activities carried out in the Member States and Associated Countries. They will push research results to those who need them and support technology transfer and breakthroughs.

a) Innovation Action: A European Language Grid

The action shall:

i. develop the architecture and components for a public, open and interoperable grid connecting resources and tools, sharing and combining resources to support effective development and deployment of language technologies (software and services) across Europe. It shall provide easy access to basic natural language processing tools and services for European languages. The action shall cater for both consolidation of existing and a seamless inclusion of new resources and tools available for free or/and for a fee, enabling providers to control access rights reflecting their policies. The end-users of the grid shall be closely involved in the process.

ii. coordinate the work of the European Language grid and all actions supported under this topic and address the interoperability issues. It shall identify barriers for deploying multilingual services and establishing language infrastructure at European scale, including any skills gap. The action shall address legal and organisational obstacles, facilitate coordination between various European, national and regional activities through a structured dialogue and the establishment and exchange of best practices.

iii. pilot the European Language Grid in specific sectors of high commercial and/or societal impact, through small scale demonstrators geared towards an innovative integration of language technologies in specific operating processes/operations. The action shall provide facilities for collaboration, technical and linguistic guidance, access to open-source tools and open language resources (available through the grid), access to venture capital, and promotion and dissemination events. The results of all small scale demonstrators should be made available through the European Language grid under appropriate licensing conditions. The action shall select these small scale demonstrators through the use of financial support to third parties. Up to 30% of the EU funding of the action should be allocated to the financial support of these third parties, typically of the size of EUR 100 000 to 200 000 per third party and a duration of about 9 to 12 months. Financial support to third parties should in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

iv. establish competence centres / nodes in Member and Associated States. It shall build on the previous EC-funded actions within the FP7, H2020 and CEF.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about 7 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

b) Research and Innovation Action: Domain-specific/challenge-oriented Human Language Technology.

The actions shall

Advance the state of art in Human Language Technologies through well-identified mission-oriented challenges involving researchers and industrial users of language technologies. Each proposal should address a specific sector of high commercial and/or societal impact or a technological challenge common/relevant to several sectors. Proposers should include a detailed analysis of the expected advances in terms of language technology-related research The actions should address concrete real-life issues defined by industrial users. The proposals must convincingly argue the demand for the proposed solution and provide clear indicators to benchmark the research results. The projects shall create a sustainable ecosystem of multilingual applications and services tailored for the specific needs of the addressed sector.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about 3 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

  • Provide European research and language technology industry with a better access to and usage of quality language resources and tools;
  • Increase in the quality and coverage of multilingual solutions used by industrial players in sectors relevant to the emergence of the Digital Single Market;
  • Increase in the uptake of language technologies in Europe in various sectors;
  • Cost savings for private and public sector users of language technology solutions.

 

Dateline for submission: 17 April 2018 17:00:00 (Brussels time)

Source: The European Commission

Illustration Photo: European Union flags (CC0 Creative Commons from Pixabay.com)

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