A consortium formed by EurActiv, the policy portal on EU affairs, language software developer Systran and the International Federation of journalists (IFJ) succesfully completed the contract it was awarded under the eContent programme of the EU's Directorate General 'Information Society'.
The project aimed to develop a CrossLingualTM policy portal: www.euractiv.com. The portal, which was first operational in English only, now provides access to information in French. A working prototype in German has also been developed, which could be launched in September 2002. In addition automated translations in some other EU languages can be generated of the documents available on the portal.
Commenting on this project, Christophe Leclercq, Publisher of EurActiv, said: "The language barrier keeps many 'EU Actors' from having access to a wide range of information on EU policy and developments. The CrossLingualTM project will make an important contribution towards a wider dissemination and coverage of EU policy issues. It also demonstrates the economic viability of an innovative business model at the cross-road of public and private sectors."
Oliver Money-Kyrle, Projects Director of the International Federation of Journalists added: "We are very pleased with the outcome of the project. This project is of particular interest to journalists throughout Europe who need up-to-date and diversified information about the activities of the EU institutions and reactions from the different stakeholders."
Note to the Editor
As a follow-up to the project, a new proposal is being prepared, called 'CrossLingual II, Multilingual diffusion of EU policy content via networks'. This new project will have the same partners plus several others across Europe.
The European Commission's eContent programme is part of the eEurope Action Plan that aims at accelerating the uptake of digital technologies across Europe and at ensuring that all Europeans have the necessary skills to use them. The main focus of the programme is the access and use of public sector information, as well as expansion of the information supply, linguistic and cultural adaptation of information products and removal of market barriers to content use.
The EurActiv portal provides at no cost information to the "Community of EU Actors" (representatives from corporations, professionals, industry federations and NGOs, together with the EU institutions and the press). Acting as a gateway, the site gives easy access to a wealth of information on EU news and policies, including an online directory. EurActiv.com is supported by a growing number of organisations such as pharmaceuticals and chemicals group Solvay SA, consulting firm McKinsey & Co, the steel packaging association APEAL and EU think tank Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). In addition, 50 federations and non-profit associations provide policy positions and moral support to EurActiv.com. Among those are the European Employers federation UNICE, European consumers' organisation BEUC, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the EU Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is the world's largest organisation of journalists. First established in 1926, it was relaunched in 1946 and again, in its present form, in 1952. Today the Federation represents around 450,000 members in more than 100 countries. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is the regional group of the IFJ representing about 200.000 journalists throughout Europe. The role of the EFJ was to coordinate the 'user panel' of the working prototype with online journalists from Belgium, the UK, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia.
Systran, founded in 1968, develops and markets the leading Machine Translation (MT) technology, and provides a full range of automatic translation software products and services to millions of users. Systran's expertise comes with over 30 years of building translation software products for the US Department of Defense, as well as the Commission of European Communities and some of the largest commercial multinational corporations.