The German EU Council Presidency Translator – strengthening linguistic diversity and connecting multilingual Europe

1 July 2020 marked the beginning of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as the launch of the German EU Council Presidency Translator, an automated translation platform. Shortly after its release, the platform created a buzz and set new records – more than 14 million translated words in just one month!

With more than 14 million translated words, the German EU Council Presidency Translator has managed to break all previously held records in its first month. For a human translator, such a workload would take more than 27 years to complete, as it is comparable to 110 volumes of Goethe’s Faust. The German EU Council Presidency Translator was originally developed to help its target audience of professionals – conference delegates, journalists, translators and public sector staff in general – deal with massive amounts of multilingual information during the EU Council Presidency. The aim was not only to translate texts and documents into all 24 official languages of the EU, but also websites. More than half of the 14 million words is accounted for by such website translations – which shows that the German EU Council Presidency Translator has also come to be popular among the general public. The user-friendly translation function on the central website of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, eu2020.de, is especially well-liked. There, all the pages a user accesses can be translated in the blink of an eye by selecting the desired language from a drop-down menu. In addition to three language versions – English, German and French – created by human translators, the site can be viewed in the other 21 official languages, thanks to the Translator.

The German EU Council Presidency Translator has experienced a growing popularity since the start of the Presidency. The number of users shows that machine translation has emerged as a powerful tool for multilingual communication and that the demand for automated translation is increasing by the day. The EU Council Presidency Translator thereby supports linguistic diversity in Europe, while also helping to overcome language barriers and enable communication across languages and national borders. The everyday translation tool is well appreciated by both German and international users.
 
The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI, lead management) and Tilde are responsible for the development and continuous improvement of the Translator. It is supported through project funding of the Federal Foreign Office. The German EU Council Presidency Translator is powered by the neural machine translation systems of a mix of key players from industry (DeepL and Tilde), research (DFKI) and public institutions (eTranslation).

To provide Ministries with support of a quality that is both useful and meets their specialised translation needs, DFKI and Tilde developed custom neural MT engines that are adapted for content relating to issues that are dealt with by the European Union and Germany’s EU Council Presidency. In an effort led and coordinated by the Federal Foreign Office, the translators of various Federal Ministries’ language services were instrumental in helping to train these engines by making available a large corpus of human-generated translations and terminology. The language services have since used these enhanced systems, putting them to the test in their regular translation work during the Presidency. Such testing by the language services has proven to be both innovative and valuable for users and developers.

The Translator is freely available to everyone for the entire duration of Germany’s EU Council Presidency and can be used for work-related or personal-matter translation support. 
Close cooperation with the users of the EU Council Presidency Translator is key for successful, continuous improvement and further development of the translation tool, which is why user feedback is highly appreciated. Unlike many other freely available online translation services, the German EU Council Presidency Translator provides complete security and confidentiality, as user data is neither stored nor analysed and is deleted immediately once the translation is received.

To experience Germany’s EU Council Presidency Translator, head over to www.presidencymt.eu or have a look at our demos! They are available in more than 20 EU languages on YouTube.

Link to the website of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union: https://www.eu2020.de
Link to our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmUkWVCV6ThBQC4F1W_kH5w
 

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Contact:

Prof. Dr. Josef van Genabith

Scientific Director, Multilinguality and Language Technology, DFKI

Prof. Dr. Stephan Busemann

Deputy Head, Multilinguality and Language Technology, DFKI

Eileen Schnur, M.A.

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz