Multilingual Information Management: Current Levels and Future Abilities
dpeguin | 10 janvier, 2010 08:56|
The Internet is rapidly bringing to the foreground the need for people to be able to access and manage information in many different languages. Even in cases where people have been lucky enough to learn several languages, they will still need help in effectively participating in the global information society. There are simply too many different languages, and all of them are important to somebody.
While machine translation has a long (over 50 year) history, computer technology now appears ready for the next great push in technology for multilingual information access and management, particularly over the World Wide Web. The European Commission and several US agencies are taking bold steps to encourage research and development in multilingual information technologies. The EC and the US National Science Foundation, for example, have recently issued a joint call for Multilingual Information Access and Management research. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is supporting a new effort in Translingual Information Detection, Extraction, and Summarization research. Both of these efforts are direct results of international planning efforts, and this Granada effort in particular.
No one was more surprised than the Granada workshop participants were at the rapid uptake in interest in Multilingual Information Management research. Attendees of the workshop in Granada, Spain hardly had their bags unpacked when the results were requested to be presented in Washington DC at a National Academy of Sciences workshop on international research cooperation. The US White House expressed interest in the topic as a groundbreaking effort for a new US-EU Science Cooperation Agreement. Now, DARPA has decided to invest in a multi-year, large-scale effort to push the envelope on rapid development of multilingual capability in new language pairs.
The World is surely shrinking as communication and computation advances proceed at a breath-taking pace. On the other hand, there is no doubt that people will continue to hold on to the values and beliefs of their native cultures. This includes holding on to the language of their families and ancestors. This is a treasure, a cultural knowledge base that must not be weakened even as pressures to be able to speak common languages increase. Therefore, efforts in multilingual technology not only allow us to share knowledge and resources of the World, they also allow us to preserve our individual human qualities that have allowed us to progress and solve problems that we all share.
I thank all whose efforts have gone into this workshop report and the resource that it represents for future efforts in the field. Those who proceed to carry on the needed research and development being called for from around the world will surely find this report to be of great value.