Latvia contributes language data to for eTranslation

2019-10-09

During a formal ceremony at the second European Language Resources Coordination Activities (ELRC) seminar in Latvia, the parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Eva Juhņēviča, contributed the open language data generated by the Latvian state administration language technology platform Hugo.lv to the representative of the European Commission, Ainārs Freimanis. Seminar was held on September 26.

This contribution demonstrates the successful cooperation between Latvia and the European Commission in the development of automated translation systems, thereby ensuring equal opportunities for every citizen of the European Union in communication with the State Administration and in obtaining information.

“The discussion on the importance of multilingualism and language technologies for bringing down language barriers in the European Digital Single Market was already underlined at the Riga Summit in 2015. Many important results have since been achieved, highlighting multilingualism as key enabling factor in the development of this market,” features Ainārs Freimanis.

The open language data deliverable includes 318 million words monolingual corpora, 15 million words parallel corpora and 19 000 Latvian terms.

“This will be a mutual benefit for both the European Union and the Latvian State, as it will both complement the eTranslation platform with high-quality language resources and ensure a more accurate and high-quality use of the Latvian language in European automatic translation systems,” Eva Juhņēviča said during the ceremony.

The second ELRC Seminar was opened by the Latvian President's external advisor on Smart Technology, Roland Lapiņš, who affirmed the need for political will to increase support for the development of automatic translation and promised the involvement and support of the President's institution.

The seminar was attended by language and translation specialists, officials who use foreign languages in their work, as well as experts from the European Union. Participants discussed automatic translation capabilities in public administration, defined daily work requirements and identified relevant sources of multilingual resources as well as reviewed technical and usability issues related to the use of data for automated translation.

“Hugo.lv, since it was created five years ago as an automatic translation system, has taken a major step forward in its development, becoming a multifunctional platform, thereby ensuring successful communication with the public administration,” noted Janis Ziediņš, project manager of the Culture Information Systems Centre project - Hugo.lv

With a population of more than 500 million people who speak approximately 80 different languages, Europe is unique in its aim to create equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of the language of communication. Multilingualism is one of the leading values ​​of Europe, but it is also a challenge confronting many institutions in their daily work. Language technologies facilitate multilingual communication and the exchange of documents between public authorities in European countries. To ensure equal opportunities, the European Commission and the Latvian government institutions create technology platforms for automated translation.

"The long-term objective is to ensure that every European citizen can use any e-service in his or her mother tongue. Latvia shows a good example of how to develop its language by introducing the latest language technologies in national information systems and helping to build Europe-wide solutions," emphasizes the Coordinator of the ELRC DATA, Chairman of the board of the technology company Tilde, Andrejs Vasiļjevs.

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Translation has developed the public administration machine translation system eTranslation, while the Latvian translation service HUGO.LV is provided by the Latvian Cultural Information System Center. It is part of the Latvian e-service infrastructure and provides instant, free translation in Latvian, English and Russian for institutions, individuals and publicly available online services.

The seminar is organized in cooperation with the ELRC Consortium and the Cultural Information Systems Center; the local organizer is Tilde.