February 21st, 2015
On occasion of the European Day of Languages, which is today, the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance Network (META-NET) has some bad news for at least 21 of 30 European languages: If the present situation continues, says Dr. Georg Rehm, a researcher at the network, ‘these languages are doomed to digital extinction.’
The META-NET has launched the White Paper series “Europe’s Languages in the Digital Age”, which explore the digital support for all European languages. In this case, they have analyzed the language technology support for 30 languages, taking into account four different areas: automatic translation, speech interaction, text analysis and availability of language resources.
They found that four languages, that is, Maltese, Icelandic, Latvian and Lithuanian, had the weakest digital support, while English was the best positioned, considered to have “good support” (but not excellent). Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish had “moderate support”, while others like Greek, Polish or Hungarian were among the high-risk languages.
‘The results of our study are most alarming,’ says Prof. Hans Uszkoreit, coordinator of META-NET. ‘The majority of European languages are severely under-resourced and some are almost completely neglected. In this sense, many of our languages are not yet future-proof.’
The META-NET White Paper Series are available online, both in English and in the language it reports upon. You can check them here.
Image: Wikimedia Commons