Proceedings of the Workshop Towards Digital Language Equality within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Itziar Aldabe, Begoña Altuna, Aritz Farwell, German Rigau (Editors)

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Marseille, France
European Language Resources Association
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Proceedings of the Workshop Towards Digital Language Equality within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference
Itziar Aldabe | Begoña Altuna | Aritz Farwell | German Rigau

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Introducing the Digital Language Equality Metric: Technological Factors
Federico Gaspari | Owen Gallagher | Georg Rehm | Maria Giagkou | Stelios Piperidis | Jane Dunne | Andy Way

This paper introduces the concept of Digital Language Equality (DLE) developed by the EU-funded European Language Equality (ELE) project, and describes the associated DLE Metric with a focus on its technological factors (TFs), which are complemented by situational contextual factors. This work aims at objectively describing the level of technological support of all European languages and lays the foundation to implement a large-scale EU-wide programme to ensure that these languages can continue to exist and prosper in the digital age, to serve the present and future needs of their speakers. The paper situates this ongoing work with a strong European focus in the broader context of related efforts, and explains how the DLE Metric can help track the progress towards DLE for all languages of Europe, focusing in particular on the role played by the TFs. These are derived from the European Language Grid (ELG) Catalogue, that provides the empirical basis to measure the level of digital readiness of all European languages. The DLE Metric scores can be consulted through an online interactive dashboard to show the level of technological support of each European language and track the overall progress toward DLE.

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Introducing the Digital Language Equality Metric: Contextual Factors
Annika Grützner-Zahn | Georg Rehm

In our digital age, digital language equality is an important goal to enable participation in society for all citizens, independent of the language they speak. To assess the current state of play with regard to Europe’s languages, we developed, in the project European Language Equality, a metric for digital language equality that consists of two parts, technological and contextual (i.e., non-technological) factors. We present a metric for calculating the contextual factors for over 80 European languages. For each language, a score is calculated that reflects the broader context or socio-economic ecosystem of a language, which has, for a given language, a direct impact for technology and resource development; it is important to note, though, that Language Technologies and Resources related aspects are reflected by the technological factors. To reduce the vast number of potential contextual factors to an adequate number, five different configurations were calculated and evaluated with a panel of experts. The best results were achieved by a configuration in which 12 manually curated factors were included. In the factor selection process, attention was paid to data quality, automatic updatability, inclusion of data from different domains, and a balance between different data types. The evaluation shows that this specific configuration is stable for the official EU languages; while for regional and minority languages, as well as national non-official EU languages, there is room for improvement.

Collaborative Metadata Aggregation and Curation in Support of Digital Language Equality Monitoring
Maria Giagkou | Stelios Piperidis | Penny Labropoulou | Miltos Deligiannis | Athanasia Kolovou | Leon Voukoutis

The European Language Equality (ELE) project develops a strategic research, innovation and implementation agenda (SRIA) and a roadmap for achieving full digital language equality in Europe by 2030. Key component of the SRIA development is an accurate estimation of the current standing of languages with respect to their technological readiness. In this paper we present the empirical basis on which such estimation is grounded, its starting point and in particular the automatic and collaborative methods used for extending it. We focus on the collaborative expert activities, the challenges posed, and the solutions adopted. We also briefly present the dashboard application developed for querying and visualising the empirical data as well as monitoring and comparing the evolution of technological support within and across languages.

Measuring HLT Research Equality of European Languages
Gorka Artola | German Rigau

This work explores quantitative indicators that could potentially measure the equality and inequality research levels among the languages of the European Union in the field of human language technologies (HLT research equality). Our ultimate goal is to investigate European language equality in HLT research considering the number of papers published on several HLT research venues that mention each language with respect to their estimated number of speakers. This way, inequalities affecting HLT research in Europe will depend on other factors such as history, political status, GDP, level of social or technological development, etc. We have identified several groups of EU languages in the proposed measurement of HLT research equality, each group comprising languages with large differences in the number of speakers. We have discovered a relative equality among surprisingly different languages in terms of number of speakers and also relevant inequalities within the most spoken languages. All data and code will be released upon acceptance.

National Language Technology Platform for Public Administration
Marko Tadić | Daša Farkaš | Matea Filko | Artūrs Vasiļevskis | Andrejs Vasiļjevs | Jānis Ziediņš | Željka Motika | Mark Fishel | Hrafn Loftsson | Jón Guðnason | Claudia Borg | Keith Cortis | Judie Attard | Donatienne Spiteri

This article presents the work in progress on the collaborative project of several European countries to develop National Language Technology Platform (NLTP). The project aims at combining the most advanced Language Technology tools and solutions in a new, state-of-the-art, Artificial Intelligence driven, National Language Technology Platform for five EU/EEA official and lower-resourced languages.

The Nós Project: Opening routes for the Galician language in the field of language technologies
Iria de-Dios-Flores | Carmen Magariños | Adina Ioana Vladu | John E. Ortega | José Ramom Pichel | Marcos García | Pablo Gamallo | Elisa Fernández Rei | Alberto Bugarín-Diz | Manuel González González | Senén Barro | Xosé Luis Regueira

The development of language technologies (LTs) such as machine translation, text analytics, and dialogue systems is essential in the current digital society, culture and economy. These LTs, widely supported in languages in high demand worldwide, such as English, are also necessary for smaller and less economically powerful languages, as they are a driving force in the democratization of the communities that use them due to their great social and cultural impact. As an example, dialogue systems allow us to communicate with machines in our own language; machine translation increases access to contents in different languages, thus facilitating intercultural relations; and text-to-speech and speech-to-text systems broaden different categories of users’ access to technology. In the case of Galician (co-official language, together with Spanish, in the autonomous region of Galicia, located in northwestern Spain), incorporating the language into state-of-the-art AI applications can not only significantly favor its prestige (a decisive factor in language normalization), but also guarantee citizens’ language rights, reduce social inequality, and narrow the digital divide. This is the main motivation behind the Nós Project (Proxecto Nós), which aims to have a significant contribution to the development of LTs in Galician (currently considered a low-resource language) by providing openly licensed resources, tools, and demonstrators in the area of intelligent technologies.