Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Human Language Technologies for Europe

Funded under: FP6-IST


For our multilingual Europe, cross-lingual communication and information exchange is of fundamental importance. Twenty official European languages, i.e. 190 language pairs or 380 translation directions, put cost and effort on every cross-lingual activity, in government, in business, and in our community. While this effort is comparatively small for some sorts of transaction and communication, it is large enough to prevent others from ever taking place. In the future this situation will be changed dramatically by the availability of translation capability provided by automatic systems � less perfect than professional human translators, but cheaper, faster, available on the spot, and good enough for many purposes. While efficiency gains in traditional human translation are also to be expected, the major uptake of these technologies will be in automated cross-lingual applications. Spoken language translation and machine translation will start in niche markets but rapidly expand in scope, largely independent of the currently existing translation services business. As enabling technologies, they will stimulate Europe�s commerce and economy. For Europe it is a strategic necessity to have human language technologies available that facilitate cross-lingual communication and information exchange to the greatest extent possible.
This report begins by illustrating the significance of human language technologies, in particular for Europe, and describing the present state of affairs. It examines the European perspective in a global context with specific reference to the United States, India and East Asia. Current state of the art in research and in business is explored and expectations for future market developments outlined. Interviews with decision makers and specialists from research and business broaden the perspective and provide insight into the topic.

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