Breaking down language barriers with the translation tool of the German EU Council Presidency


Multilingualism and linguistic diversity are an essential part of the European identity. However, the EU's 24 official languages can also create language barriers that prevent seamless communication between individuals, businesses and public institutions across borders and languages. Especially during the EU Presidency, many texts have to be translated into different languages. The EU Council Presidency Translator offers a quick, simple and secure procedure to meet the cross-lingual challenges associated with the German EU Council Presidency. For example, the websites of the German Council Presidency can be translated into all official languages. The data is transmitted securely within the framework of the GDPR and processed on servers within the EU. Neither the providers nor third parties have access to the data.

The Presidency Translator is freely accessible to everyone. It demonstrates the current capabilities of German and European translation technology for all 24 official EU languages. Machine translation (MT) is undoubtedly one of the technologies that has experienced a rapid upswing in recent years thanks to the learning processes of Artificial Intelligence. Despite translation results often convincing in individual language directions, editorial revision is still absolutely necessary for many MT applications. At the same time, not all kinds of text can be translated accurately by a machine, so a symbiosis of human and machine translation is still required.

The creation and maintenance of this translation tool has been made possible by a grant from the Federal Foreign Office to the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Tilde. The MT platform was developed by Tilde for previous EU presidencies with funding from the European Union and adapted for the German Presidency. The platform gives access to translation systems from DFKI, DeepL, Tilde and eTranslation.

  • DeepL GmbH is an AI company based in Germany that specialises in the development of neural network technology for languages. With the launch of DeepL Translator in August 2017, DeepL raised the bar for what can be achieved in terms of Machine Translation quality and quickly earned worldwide praise. DeepL succeeded in taking a leading role in global competition.

  • DFKI GmbH is Germany's leading business-oriented research institution in the field of innovative software technologies based on Artificial Intelligence methods. Based on application-oriented basic research, product functions, prototypes and patentable solutions in the field of information and communication technology are developed in 20 research areas, 8 competence centers and 8 living labs. Machine Translation is a central research topic in Language Technology.

  • eTranslation is the European Commission's Machine Translation system covering all official languages. eTranslation is currently connected to over 50 services, such as the European Open Data Portal and publicly accessible legal databases such as EUR-Lex and N-Lex, and is used throughout the EU to automatically pre-translate more than 3 million pages per year. This MT system is being constantly improved by the work of the innumerable linguists who post-edit the texts produced by the system and who continue to maintain and expand the terminology databases it accesses.

  • Tilde, based in Latvia, is a leading European Language Technology innovator and service provider, playing an important role in Europe-wide efforts to overcome language barriers and enable multilingualism in the fast-moving digital age. Tilde has already supported six presidencies of the Council of the European Union.

Taken together, the systems enable people to understand texts written in all 24 official EU languages. Translators from German ministries have made available texts and data from their collections for some of the systems, and taken part in testing in order to improve the reliability of the MT systems. This is the first time that German and European high-tech AI and specialist expertise from industry (DeepL, Tilde) and publicly funded institutions (eTranslation, German ministries) have been integrated in such close cooperation for the Presidency Translator.

The EU Council Presidency Translator will remain freely accessible for the entire duration of the German EU Council Presidency. Further information can be found on the website. You are welcome to try it out!