Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: This topic aims to facilitate multilingual online communication for the benefit of the digital single market which is still fragmented by language barriers that hamper a wide penetration of cross-border commerce, social communication and exchange of cultural content. Current machine translation solutions typically perform well only for a limited number of target languages, and for a given text type.

The aim of this challenge is to launch interdisciplinary work leading to a new paradigm in overcoming the language barrier and progressively, to reach high quality for all language combinations and translation directions, and cater for the most demanded text types and use contexts. Systems and solutions that are intended to overcome the language barriers, are expected to deal with huge volumes, high variety of languages and text styles, and deliver results in reasonable time (in most cases, instantly). Where the methods require automatic learning from language resources, the availability and suitability of the latter need to be addressed.  Special focus is on the 21 EU languages (both as source and target languages) that have "fragmentary" or "weak/no" machine translation support according to the META-net language white papers.


a.      Research & Innovation Actions to kick off a multidisciplinary research path to develop a new paradigm leading to radically improved quality and coverage (in terms of languages and text types) of machine translation. Special focus is on issues where current methods fall short in quality or fail to adapt to different languages and different needs of translation, or where further improvement with current methods becomes very expensive or requires such amounts of training data that are not available. The projects should use existing and emerging structures (in particular, those developed under action c) below) for testing, validating and evaluating the novel methods against agreed benchmarks.

b.      Innovative Actions in view of optimizing translation quality and language/topical coverage in demanding, realistic use situations arising from well documented market needs, for example in pan-European online services. The pilots should focus on areas where multilingualism contributes to competitiveness and user-friendliness and optimize, evaluate and test performance improvements with languages that are poorly served by current machine translation systems. The pilots should make use of and contribute to existing and emerging platforms and infrastructures for pooling, building, and adding value to language resources and tools.

c.       Coordination actions to promote benchmarking and competitive evaluation of machine translation, as well as the optimal use of language resources from various sources, in view of federating the sources and repositories towards a single access mechanism, respecting appropriate standards of interoperability and metadata.

Expected impact:

·         Initiating a programme of ground-breaking actions that will deliver, by 2025, an online EU internal market free of language barriers, delivering automated translation quality, equal to currently best performing language pair/direction, in most relevant use situations and for at least 90% of the EU official languages.

·         Significantly improving the quality, coverage and technical maturity of automatic translation for at least half of the 21 EU languages that currently have "weak or no support" or "fragmentary support" of machine translation solutions, according to the META-NET Language White Papers referenced before.

·         Attracting a community of hundreds of contributors of language resources and language technology tools (from all EU Member States and Associated Countries) to adopt and support a single platform for sharing, maintaining and making use of language resources and tools;  establishing widely agreed benchmarks for machine translation quality and stimulating competition between methods and systems.

Types of action:

a.       Research & Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Small contribution are expected

b.      Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Small contribution are expected

c.       Coordination and Support Actions

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