The ELRC journey across Europe is entering the home stretch. We can look back on impressive figures that already now demonstrate how valuable every effort towards a truly multilingual society can be.
In the past 7 years, the ELRC National Anchor Points organised 82 Workshops in 29 Countries and 30 locations, attracting over 4.500 participants. During the Covid-19 pandemic, 21 of these events had to be held virtually, but the concluding 4 Country Workshops of the ELRC project, planned for October and November, will finally take place – at least partially – in person. Until now, over 250 tweets were published to share live updates on the workshop topics, while over 500 speakers spread one single message: language data matters.
In the meantime, the workshop topics have evolved along with the overall vision of a truly multilingual Europe. While the initial round aimed at raising awareness for the importance of language data by exemplifying why and where they are required, and at providing information and legal support on data sharing, the second round could already point at how to build stronger connections among public services across Europe to allow a better exchange of language data.
The most recent series of Country Workshops broadened this view even more by shedding light on Language Technologies by/for the public sector and the SMEs, while remaining focused on country-specific challenges, needs and requirements. One of the most important achievements of the latest ELRC Country Workshops is certainly the increased uptake of Language Technologies by public and private sector organisations together with an enhanced awareness of the fact that Language Technologies can indeed contribute to a better inclusion across Europe.
In this light, we can state that despite different backgrounds and different needs, the common message coming from the involved EU Countries, Norway and Iceland is the same: Language Technologies empower people.