Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

MLIS - Promoting multilingual services in business

The European Commission, DG XIII, has published a call for proposals for projects aimed at promoting multilingual services in business. The call, one of the first to be published under the Community's multiannual programme to promote the linguistic diversity of the Community in the Information Society (MLIS), relates to Action line 2.1 of the MLIS work programme.

The aim of the projects to be financed is to improve the cross-language capabilities of business, particularly SMEs, in dealing with their commercial partners in Europe, and in wider world markets, by demonstrating best practice in overcoming language barriers in trade and business. This improvement will be encouraged by helping companies to understand the issues and impact of language and culture on trading performance, and by providing concrete advice, services and techniques for enhancing multilingual business practices.

The projects could cover all types of language support for business, including language training, translation, interpretation, provision of multilingual information and documentation. Proposals will be assessed according to:

- Integration of linguistic and cultural issues in marketing strategies;
- Development of multilingual information and documentation services;
- Integration of advanced methods and technologies, such as controlled language, authoring and translation tools, into multilingual document management systems;
- Exploitation of networked infrastructures and resources.

Building on existing experience - local, sector-specific or national practices - the contractors will identify and expand successful approaches to multilingual communication, and (re)design, implement and demonstrate an effective language service transferable to other companies and organizations in their geographic area or business sector.

In addition, they will develop informational and promotional materials such as guides, brochures, CDs, Web pages, videos or TV programmes.

Each project will define criteria against which achievement and performance will be measured, and report on the language products and services developed for the needs of the companies, business organizations and their sectors.

In order to ensure a multiplier effect and a real impact on the public and private sector, the projects will set up, in close collaboration with relevant business organizations and networks, such as chambers of commerce, the MIDAS network and Euro Info Centres, a programme and an infrastructure for disseminating the results and the solutions proposed for efficient multilingual communication in trade and business.

This call for proposals is primarily addressed to small and medium-sized companies and groupings of companies, which have proven successful experience with business and trade practices involving foreign customers and partners and their languages. The consortia will involve at least one representative business organization responsible, in particular, for organisational and dissemination issues.

General criteria for selection concern the need of partners to support their export efforts linguistically and their commitment to invest in this area, the innovativeness of the approach and the application, and the willingness to share experiences with other organizations in the same sector and/or the same geographical area.

In general, projects will be implemented as shared cost projects, with the Community contribution not exceeding 33% of the total cost of the project. Detailed criteria for selection will be listed in the information package accompanying this call.

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