Introduction

Ber2Tek is a strategic research project with a duration of three years (2012-2014). Its consortium is made up of the Elhuyar Foundation, the IXA and Aholab research groups of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, the technology centre Vicomtech and the foundation Tecnalia Research & Innovation. The Ber2Tek project is partly funded by the Departments of Industry and Culture of the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community (region).

The Ber2Tek project is continuation of BerbaTek, that was subsidised by the program Etortek in the period 2009-2011 and carried out by the same consortium. In BerbaTek we began to research and develop language-, voice- and multimedia-technologies, for their application in the sector of the languages industry.

Linguistic technologies are a fundamental pillar for the development of the languages industry, especially in the field of the impulse of competitiveness. Taking this into account, the project Ber2Tek wants to further develop those linguistic technologies that contribute to the sector and promote the competitiveness of the CAPV as a leader in the field of the linguistic services.

Ber2Tek is born, therefore, as a natural continuation of the project BerbaTek and as a consequence of the strategic reflection of its partners regarding the technological needs identified by the local and European languages industry.

Its main aim is to advance in the research and development of the technologies of analysis of cross-media contents, high quality machine translation and natural spoken multimodal interaction. Ber2Tek also wants to generate the knowledge and training of the qualified critical mass that will allow to face the future of the R&D inside this strategic line. To achieve this, we will organise courses of training, post-degree masters, skilled seminars and courses of doctorate in the field of the language technologies.

To attain the aims posed, the partners of the Ber2Tek project have a scientific community with the necessary critical mass, internationally recognised, in addition to preferential relations with a lot of companies of the language industry.

After the success of the approach adopted in the previous project, Ber2Tek will be also oriented towards applications. Without leaving basic research apart, we will try to present experimental applications as demos that can later be developed and turned into products by companies devoted to translation, language training or content management. In addition to using these demos as evaluators and proofs of feasibility, we intend to obtain the cooperation of companies of the field to participate in the project as beta-testers.

Besides, being the Ber2Tek project and its antecessor BerbaTek the first ones that comprise the different areas that integrate the economic sector of the languages industry, we will facilitate its structuration. The development of the language technologies will also positively affect the process of globalisation of Basque companies, since they will allow to face the jump to the multilingual stage, in which translation and language training are key factors. Also, the fact that Euskadi is a multilingual community offers an excellent know-how and benchmark for the development of both language technologies and the languages industry, and offers a good starting point for positioning Euskadi among the reference countries in language- and voice-technologies.