Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme

IS-ECONTENT

Programme funding

EUR 15 million
To stimulate the use of technologies, tools and methods which reduce the cost of transferring information between languages and the development of multilingual services; to encourage the strengthening of the language industries; to encourage the development of multilingual services; and to promote the linguistic diversity of the European Union in the global Information Society.

Abstract

The Multilingual Information Society (MLIS) programme has been proposed in response to the importance attached to creating a multilingual European Information Society. In this respect, the measures contained under MLIS are designed to help meet the dual challenge of maintaining Europe's rich linguistic and cultural diversity while ensuring equal opportunities for all to participate in the new information age and to share its benefits.

Whilst policies and initiatives aimed at preserving languages are the prime responsibility of the Member States, Community action can play a catalytic role at the European level, thereby adding value to the Member States' efforts. MLIS supports Europe's emerging Information Society by serving, first and foremost, as a basis for coordinating large-scale developments which would be beyond the scope of players acting alone. In particular, the programme will strive to encourage coordination between language-related initiatives in the Member States, provide private enterprises with a focused approach to technology transfer, support private and public efforts aimed at building large-scale corpuses of text and speech, lexical databases and terminology banks, and encourage the development of an advanced translation and interpretation industry and the language engineering industry. Furthermore, MLIS is expected to stimulate collaboration between Europe and other regions and countries by providing a basis for the exchange of knowledge and linguistic data.

Examples of the catalytic role the Community can play in ensuring and promoting language diversity in the Information Society include:

- Safeguarding the status of official languages, in accordance with rules regulating the use of languages in the European Institutions;
- Informing public organizations and industry of the importance of language issues in the information age, with a view to identifying common problems and possible solutions;
- Stimulating the language industries and user industries to pursue truly European or global marketing strategies, integrating multilingualism into their strategies to give them a competitive advantage, making the benefits of its R&D initiatives available to users and to industries developing language engineering services and products;
- Promoting the development of tools, standards and infrastructures which are largely language-independent, though essential for the handling of languages;
- Raising awareness and promoting a multilingual approach to the Information Society in Europe, in relation to content, interfaces, translation, interpretation and language learning.

The MLIS programme complements other relevant European and national programmes and activities. In particular, it promotes the exploitation of results of linguistic engineering and related RTD work under the specific programmes on Telematics Applications and Advanced Communications Technologies and Services (ACTS) of the Fourth Framework Programme and of developments under the Commission's Multilingual Action Plans, as well as under EUREKA and relevant national research programmes. Activities under MLIS will also seek to complement new actions in the area of language training (within the framework of SOCRATES and LEONARDO DA VINCI) and to promote multilingual approaches in the cultural (RAPHAEL), audio-visual (MEDIA II), and information content (INFO2000) sectors.

Subdivision

Four sectors:

- Supporting the construction of an infrastructure for European language resources:
. Support for starting up the European Language Resources Association (ELRA) with respect to validation and dissemination of language resources;
. Phased development of a network connecting sector and language-based terminology banks;
. Selection and operation of an information centre for terminology;
. Phased development of a network of compatible electronic corpora and lexicons;

- Mobilizing and expanding the language industries:
. Demonstration of effective use of controlled language and language tools, in a limited number of industrial and business environments;
. Demonstration of advanced tools and methods for localizing multimedia software;
. Development of electronic translation directory services;
. Demonstration of tele-translation and tele-interpreting using pan-European networks;

- Promoting the use of advanced language tools in the European public sector:
. Development of a multilingual information infrastructure for the public sector (tools, resources, standards, interfaces);
. Development of translation tools in bilateral cooperation with Member States and regions;
. Elaboration of unified terminology specific for the European public sector;

- Accompanying measures:
. Organizing concertation and coordination between the principal operators;
. Study to assess the needs of, and progress towards, multilingualism;
. Support linguistic standards work;
. Various promotional activities, particularly addressing the general public and business sectors;
. Organize concertation with third countries.

Implementation

The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by an advisory committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.

The programme is mainly implemented through shared-cost projects which are selected, in general, on the basis of calls for proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The objectives of the calls will be detailed in work plans to be drawn up in consultation with market operators and the above mentioned advisory committee. In exceptional circumstances, the Commission may provide support for an unsolicited proposal (outside the framework of calls for proposals) if it is deemed to contain particularly promising and important developments for achieving the objectives of the programme.

A budget of ECU 15 million has been proposed to implement the actions under the programme. For the shared-cost actions, the Community's financial contribution does not normally exceed 50% of the cost of the projects; the Community's financial support decreases the closer the project is to the market. Universities and other institutes which do not have cost accounting systems shall be reimbursed at 100% of their additional costs. Where projects are focused exclusively on the requirements of the European Union institutions, the Community may provide a contribution covering up to 100% of the costs. Support for attempts to construct an infrastructure for European linguistic resources could take the form of concerted actions to coordinate the development of multilingual linguistic resources, particularly through concertation networks. In this scenario, the Community's financial contribution could cover up to 100% of the coordinating costs.

Projects financed entirely by the Commission under study and service contracts shall be implemented through a call for tenders in accordance with the Commission's financial regulations. Transparency will be ensured by the publication and regular dissemination of the work programme to professional associations and other interested bodies.

In addition, the Commission will carry out supplementary activities drawn up to facilitate the overall implementation of the programme and its specific action lines. Such activities include workshops, seminars, conferences, studies, publications, awareness campaigns, training courses, participation in cooperative projects with the administrations in the Member States, the European institutions and international organizations, helping national language observatories and specific support for the development of language tools and resources for those Community languages most in need of such assistance.

Upon completion of the programme, the Commission is required to present an evaluation report on the results of the implementation of the actions under the programme to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee.
Record Number: 563 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05