Towards a Multilingual Connected Europe
In the last decade, Europe has successfully removed many restrictions to the Digital Single Market – one of the top priorities for Europe. Money, goods, and people may now flow freely across national borders, enriching the European Union as a whole.
Several restrictions still remain, however, to creating a connected Digital Single Market and allowing all citizens to benefit from a more integrated Europe. One of the remaining obstacles is the language barrier.
Though linguistic diversity is a cornerstone of the EU, with 24 official languages, multilingualism also creates barriers between nations. Language barriers prevent European consumers from fully engaging in online activities and restrict access to many digital assets. For many Europeans information they need is frequently not available in a language they can understand.
As a result of the language barriers, the EU online market is fragmented. 43% of Europeans never purchase online products and services in languages other than their own; access to public e-services is limited not only by national but also by linguistic borders; and the richness of EU educational and cultural content is confined within linguistic communities.
The solution for removing language barriers in the Digital Single Market is found in language technologies.
Language technologies help enable seamless communication between individuals, businesses and public institutions across borders and languages. Cutting-edge technologies can remove the language borders dividing the EU market. They make it much easier for small and medium size companies to enter the pan-European market, boost the growth of business, and create new jobs. Language technologies ensure that consumers are not discriminated in their online activities based on the language they speak.
Thanks to the advancements in language technologies such as automated translation, the Digital Single Market can be made truly multilingual. Communication made possible through automated translation promotes connections between citizens, public institutions, and NGOs of various nationalities, which in turn leads to increased interactions, engagement, and mutual understanding. The result is not only a truly connected multilingual Digital Single Market, but also a closer, more integrated multilingual Europe.