Last month, I attended a LT-Innovate workshop in Brussels. In his presentation, Mr. Ruben Riestra gave an enlightening example of the status of the single digital market within European Union. In this article, I’d like to share this inspiring example with you.
Via the Internet, I can access digital content (e.g. web pages) in Spain in a fraction of a second. In contrast to digital products, the transportation of any physical products, like oranges, between any two EU countries will usually take several days. So, it is easier to sell digital content between the two countries than it is to sell an orange. Or is it?
Actually no, it is not. If I want to buy oranges from Spain, it is relatively easy to do so. An orange is an orange both in Finland and in Spain. There are plenty of sellers in Spain and it is easy to arrange the transportation too. Unfortunately, the same does not apply to digital content.
Between the most European countries there is a language barrier that prevents effective communication. In practice it means that I can’t use digital content in Spanish because I don’t speak that language.
For an effective single digital market, the following are required: common legislation, common currency and common language. We currently have the first two ones in EU. But we don’t and will not have a shared language within Europe. The only way to have a single digital market is to overcome the language barrier with translation, either by human translators or by machine translation. This makes language and translation technology crucial for Europe. Together they form the missing piece which will enable the European single digital market.
This is a guest blog by Niko Papula, Managing Director of Multilizer. Multilizer develops translation and localization technologies. Its latest innovation is award-winning machine translation quality estimation technology called MT-Qualifier.