Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Cracking the language barrier

Topic identifier: ICT-17-2014
Publication date: 11 December 2013

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
IA Innovation action
CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
11 December 2013
Deadline: 23 April 2014 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description

Specific Challenge: This topic aims to facilitate multilingual online communication for the benefit of the digital single market which is still fragmented by language barriers that hamper a wide penetration of cross-border commerce, social communication and exchange of cultural content. Current machine translation solutions typically perform well only for a limited number of target languages, and for a given text type.

The aim of this challenge is to launch interdisciplinary work leading to a new paradigm in overcoming the language barrier and progressively, to reach high quality for all language combinations and translation directions, and cater for the most demanded text types and use contexts. Systems and solutions that are intended to overcome the language barriers, are expected to deal with huge volumes, high variety of languages and text styles, and deliver results in reasonable time (in most cases, instantly). Where the methods require automatic learning from language resources, the availability and suitability of the latter need to be addressed.  Special focus is on the 21 EU languages (both as source and target languages) that have "fragmentary" or "weak/no" machine translation support according to the META-net language white papers.


a.      Research & Innovation Actions to kick off a multidisciplinary research path to develop a new paradigm leading to radically improved quality and coverage (in terms of languages and text types) of machine translation. Special focus is on issues where current methods fall short in quality or fail to adapt to different languages and different needs of translation, or where further improvement with current methods becomes very expensive or requires such amounts of training data that are not available. The projects should use existing and emerging structures (in particular, those developed under action c) below) for testing, validating and evaluating the novel methods against agreed benchmarks.

b.      Innovative Actions in view of optimizing translation quality and language/topical coverage in demanding, realistic use situations arising from well documented market needs, for example in pan-European online services. The pilots should focus on areas where multilingualism contributes to competitiveness and user-friendliness and optimize, evaluate and test performance improvements with languages that are poorly served by current machine translation systems. The pilots should make use of and contribute to existing and emerging platforms and infrastructures for pooling, building, and adding value to language resources and tools.

c.       Coordination actions to promote benchmarking and competitive evaluation of machine translation, as well as the optimal use of language resources from various sources, in view of federating the sources and repositories towards a single access mechanism, respecting appropriate standards of interoperability and metadata.

Expected impact:

         Initiating a programme of ground-breaking actions that will deliver, by 2025, an online EU internal market free of language barriers, delivering automated translation quality, equal to currently best performing language pair/direction, in most relevant use situations and for at least 90% of the EU official languages.

         Significantly improving the quality, coverage and technical maturity of automatic translation for at least half of the 21 EU languages that currently have "weak or no support" or "fragmentary support" of machine translation solutions, according to the META-NET Language White Papers referenced before.

         Attracting a community of hundreds of contributors of language resources and language technology tools (from all EU Member States and Associated Countries) to adopt and support a single platform for sharing, maintaining and making use of language resources and tools;  establishing widely agreed benchmarks for machine translation quality and stimulating competition between methods and systems.

Types of action:

a.       Research & Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Small contribution are expected

b.      Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Small contribution are expected

c.       Coordination and Support Actions

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

To see the budget earmarked for this topic, please look at the call budget distribution table by topic in the workprogramme.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme
  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    3.2 Guide to the submission and evaluation process
  4. Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.
  5. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:
    Information on the outcome of one-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the final date for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 3 months from the date of informing successful applicants.
  6. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template (administrative forms and structure of technical annex)
    Standard evaluation form
    Annotated Model Grant Agreement

    Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template (administrative forms and structure of technical annex)
    Standard evaluation form
    Annotated Model Grant Agreement

    Coordination and Support Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template (administrative forms and structure of technical annex)
    Standard evaluation form
    Annotated Model Grant Agreement

  7. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information
  8. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.


Additional documents

  • Call Flash Info en
  • Legal basis - Framework Programme H2020 en
  • Legal basis - Specific Programme H2020 en
  • WP H2020 - 1. Introduction en
  • WP H2020 - 5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) en
  • WP H2020 - 5i. Information and communication technologies (ICT) en
  • WP H2020 - 17. Communication and Dissemination en
  • WP H2020 - 19. General Annexes en
  • A guide to ICT-related activities in WP2014-15 en

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No submission system is open for this topic.

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