On March 25, 2019, Slator covered the selection of proposals for the Connecting Europe Facility Telecommunications (CEF Telecom) sector meant to improve the EU’s machine translation capability, particularly for low-resource languages.
That call for proposals was opened in July 2018 and awarded to five separate participants toward the end of February 2019. Prior to awarding, however, on February 14, 2019, CEF Telecom opened a new call for proposals for automated translation.
The new call earmarks a total of EUR 4m (USD 4.49m) in potential funding for projects that can help “achieve the Digital Single Market by lowering language barriers, rolling out interoperable pan-European public online services, boosting the quality, response capacity and efficiency of public sector translation services, and ensuring secure connections.”
Each individual project is expected to request funding between EUR 200,000 and 800,000, but depending on the proposal, may also exceed both thresholds.
Collaboration and Integration
Where the previous call focused on low-resource languages, this new one is all about collaboration and integration. The text for this new call for proposals indicates that it is meant for projects that focus on one of three priorities as follows:
- “Collaborative language resource projects” – projects that identify, collect, and process language resources in EU Member States, Norway, and Ireland; therefore facilitating the provision of these resources to the European Language Resource Coordination Repository (ELRC-SHARE).
- “Collaborative language tools projects” – projects that address issues in submitting existing language-specific tools to ELRC-SHARE, making them openly and freely available through the repository.
- “Integration projects” – projects that either complement or integrate other EU CEF technologies and processes into Digital Service Infrastructures, public services, and administrations.
The deadline for submission of proposals is May 14, 2019, and all valid submissions will be evaluated from June through August 2019. The preparation and signature of actual grant agreements is set between October 2019 and February 2020. The funding duration, indicated in the 2019 work program, is to be two years.
This specific call for proposals for Automated Translation falls under the EUR 42m budget earmarked for project proposals in the 2019 CEF Telecom Work Program under “Generic Services.”
eTranslation and ELRC-SHARE Building Up
According to the 2019 CEF Telecom Work Program, these ongoing calls for proposals for Automated Translation are meant to build up both the EU’s automatic text translation service, eTranslation, as well as its language resource repository, ELRC-SHARE.
“At present 36 different information systems connect to eTranslation: this figure is expected to
rise to 50 (40% increase) by the end of 2019,” the program states.
ELRC-SHARE, meanwhile, is continuously being updated with language resources collected from all EU Member States, Iceland, and Norway. It will be augmented in the future with natural language processing (NLP) tools that will expand its services and “be used to train automated translation systems or in other NLP solutions.”
According to the work program, in 2019, the main priority will be the increased roll-out of automated translation throughout the EU Member States’ public administrations and CEF-associated countries.
Featured image source: EC – Audiovisual Service