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2. Executive Summary

In order to conduct a survey of the National and Transnational initiatives in the area of Language Resources, a network of international FLaReNet Contact Points was created in August 2010, comprising 102 people from 78 countries or regions that are subdivided as follows: 26 EU member countries, 6 EU regions, 9 non-EU European countries and 37 non-European countries.

The survey shows that almost all European countries now take care of gathering Language Resources for their languages in order to conduct research investigations and develop and test systems for those languages. The languages which were considered as “low-resourced” are starting to recover, even if they still need many more Language Resources, given that no language have enough Language Resources available for the needs of the research and industrial communities. Surprisingly, UK has no National program for (British) English. The reason may be the importance of US activities regarding the processing of the (American) English language. Baltic and Nordic countries are conscious of the importance of Language Resources for the promotion and survival of their languages, and they accordingly have a policy to support that area, including for minority languages. There is also an important activity in some EU regions, either for specific languages (Basque, Catalan), or in general (the Trento region in Italy).

Activities in the other parts of the world are also impressive. Governmental initiatives in India or South Africa to cover the development of Language Technologies for all the official languages of those multilingual countries in order to meet the needs of all citizens is exemplary. The creation of Associations for the specific development of Language Technologies for the Arabic language or for African Languages is also an interesting trend, while Asia keeps on organizing the activities in the various countries, with individual initiatives dealing with the cultural heritage, the preservation of the languages spoken in the country being part of it.

Now that the importance of Language Resources and Language Technologies Evaluation is granted as essential, the coordination of activities should be aimed at, in order to avoid the multiplication of independent initiatives, which may result in an inextricable landscape, while building on Best Practices. The needs should be carefully identified and properly addressed, both in the framework of the Information and Communication Technologies and of the Human and Social Sciences, while devoting an investment in agreement with the size of the corresponding challenge.

Internet brings the availability of a worldwide Web, which provides a boarder-less infrastructure allowing for a network approach to Language Resources production, distribution, validation, evaluation and sharing. This may be the chance to allow for full multilingualism.