European Day of Languages Promotes Universal Access to Public Services across Language Barriers

21 January 2021
European Day of Languages Promotes Universal Access to Public Services across Language Barriers

Posted: 25/09/15

At this year’s European Day of Languages (26th September 2015), the European Commission has taken a decisive step towards supporting the truly multilingual Digital Single Market (DSM) by enabling public services for Europe’s citizens and businesses to operate freely across language barriers. The Automated Translation platform of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF.AT) will facilitate multilingual communication and exchange of documents and other linguistic content in Europe between national public administrations and between these administrations and EU citizens and businesses. The CEF.AT platform will address various public administration scenarios in the areas of consumer rights, health, public procurement, social security, culture and others. It will power Europe’s public online services such as Europeana, the Open Data Portal, and the Online Dispute Resolution platform. With the help of the CEF.AT, public administrations across Europe will be one step closer to operating without language barriers.

At the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, researchers are working on machine translation for specific use cases, translator productivity tools, translation scoring and analytics, multilingual search, personalisation and user experience, and multimodal and multimedia translation. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland and led by Trinity College Dublin, ADAPT takes in the expertise of four universities including Dublin City University, Dublin Institute Trinity and University College Dublin.

The technology behind CEF.AT is a statistical machine translation system, MT@EC, which learns how to translate from existing translations. MT@EC in its current state, is available free of charge to public services in Europe within the framework of the CEF programme. However, since it has mainly been trained on translations of EU legislation and texts produced by the EU institutions, it may not be so well suited for all day-to-day needs and demands of European national public services. In order to adjust the system according to the requirements of public services across Europe, corresponding language and translation data (mono- and bi-lingual data) relevant to the daily needs of European national administrations are needed.

Through the European Language Resource Coordination (ELRC), the European Commission is embarking an unprecedented language data collection effort in a first step to support the adaptation of CEF.AT to the needs of public services across all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, thus supporting the provision of multilingual services for Europe’s citizens, administrations and businesses. In doing so, ELRC will not only to close the gap between the capabilities of the current MT systems offered by the European Commission to the national administrations and the actual, day-to-day requirements of national public services across Europe, but it will also directly support Europe’s national languages at the grass-roots level.

For more information on European Day of Languages visit their website.

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