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S5 - Translation, Localisation, Multilingualism

Chair: Gerhard Budin

Rapporteur: Stelios Piperidis



The cultural and linguistic diversity is one of the most important social assets of Europe. In addition to the 23 official languages of the European Union, there are dozens of minority languages spoken on the territories of EU member states plus hundreds of immigrant languages spoken in major European cities and regions. Local and national governments as well as European institutions are allocating significant financial resources to providing translation and interpreting services, multilingual information access and multi-media forms of cross-lingual information transfer. Localisation services have become a major industry branch and a professional service sector with growing market shares. Cross-cultural communication in most domains of science and technology, economy, art and culture, social affairs and other spheres of society requires the use of domain-specific terminologies in all languages concerned.

Language resources and language technologies (LRT) have become indispensable tools in order to enable translators, interpreters, technical writers, localisers, and other language professionals to provide high-quality services. Machine translation is increasingly used in industry, public administration, and other areas where millions of pages have to be translated every year. It is now also getting widely used by the grand public, thanks to the tools offered freely over the internet for document or message translation. And it starts being extended to the spoken language, with the perspectives of automatic interpretation of talks, courses and meetings, and the need to understand the huge amount of video now available on the Web. Computer-assisted translation methods such as translation memory systems, terminology management systems, localisation tools, etc. are widely used in SMEs and public services. Multilingual text corpora (aligned corpora, parallel texts, comparable corpora etc.) as well as multilingual lexical corpora, lexicons, term bases, etc. are being prepared and used for diverse application scenarios. Quality management tools such as translation metrics, standards for translation service providers, semi-automated workflow and project management systems are language technology applications that are increasingly used by language professionals.


Discussion, Objectives, FLaReNet Claims

The FLaReNet project aims at analysing the situation and the processes described above and at deriving a roadmap for initiating new research and development initiatives, coordination efforts needed to integrate existing LRT, and industrial innovation processes in order to enhance the competitive strength of European SMEs in translation and localisation industry, to support public services in providing high quality multilingual information and the education sector in its efforts to provide multilingual education and to enhance foreign language learning in the context of e-learning initiatives.

Enhancing multilingualism in Europe requires a concerted effort of all sectors and communities concerned: language technology providers, language resource producers, the users of LRT in their diverse application contexts, policy makers and other decision makers in public administration and other groups concerned should work together in order to better understand the changing and increasing needs of LRT users which is a pre-requisite to produce tailor-made LRT and technology-based language services that are based on realistic and sustainable business models.

The goal of this session is to identify urgent needs, assess current trends, and formulate concrete recommendations for further action in this strategic field.



5.1.  What are the most important problems in the field of translation and localisation services and how can LRT help solve these problems?
5.2.  What are the practical requirements that have to be fulfilled by LRT in order to be able to be relevant and helpful to translation and localisation services?
5.3.  What are current users’ needs when using LRT for translation and localisation services and are they met by available LRTs?
5.4.  What are current trends in language technology developments for machine translation, computer-assisted translation, terminology management, localisation engineering, automatic interpretation and other multilingual technologies? Are there emerging paradigm shifts in these technologies?
5.5.  What is the desired degree of automation? How much interaction with translation systems can users afford, if any? 
5.6.  How effective has the role of user feeback to automatic translation services offered by a number of search engines and systems been so far? Is this one of the possible viable solutions for systems improvement?
5.7.  What is/can be the role of semantic web technologies in translation and localisation technologies?
5.8.  How do we assess the usefulness, quality and relevance of available language resources that are used in translation and localisation technology development? Do we need new types of LRs?
5.9.  How do we assess available multilingual information strategies, web portals, web services, cross-lingual search engines, automatic interpretation and other tools and resources enhancing real-life multilingualism?
5.10.  How can LRTs be better used in the education sector in e-learning contexts, for language learning, MCLIL approaches (multilingual content and language integrated learning) and other challenges?


For the detailed program of the session see the Session 5 section.