The META-FORUM 2010 – “Challenges for Multilingual Europe” conference took place in Brussels on November 17-18, 2010. It was the first open and official conference event organized by META-NET, a Network of Excellence which is forging the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance (META).
The main goals of META-NET were presented during the event, together with early versions of whitepapers prepared by three so-called Vision Groups. META-NET aims at the creation of a Strategic Research Agenda, with the final goals of preserving language diversity and providing equal access to information for language speakers by ensuring flow of information across language boundaries.
The three Vision Groups are:
- Media and Information Services (audiovisual sector, news, digital libraries, social portals, search engines, etc.)
- Interactive Systems (mobile assistance, dialogue translation, e-commerce, robotics, etc.)
- Translation and Localisation
Some themes and results were common across the Vision Groups: the need for standardization, evaluation methods, data collection, production and showing, multilinguality, learning, semantics.
During the demo and poster session the event participants had a chance to learn about EU-funded project cooperating with META-NET (ACCURAT, CLARIN, FLaReNet, Let’s MT, MOLTO, Monnet, MultilingualWeb, PANACEA, PROMISE, TTC). They were also presented the first prototype of META-SHARE – an open repository of linguistic resources (such as corpora, dictionaries etc.). The resources are described with the Dublin Core metadata schema, which facilitates searching. The future versions will use a more expressive metadata format.
The most prominent topic turned out to be machine translation (MT), mostly with statistical methods. Two very interesting presentations in this category were dedicated to machine translation of movie subtitles, and to the machine translation system used by the European Patent Office. Other visible subjects were semantics, opinion mining, emotion detection, and speech recognition.
During a dedicated session the representatives of companies that use or build Language Technologies had a chance to give short statements about their needs, expectations and results.
There was a special session about the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme calls, and a session about legal issues led by Creative Commons representatives.
The next META-NET meeting will take place in June 2011 in Budapest. The complete Vision Groups whitepapers and the early version of the Strategic Research Agenda will be presented there.