WP 11








More Facts


Cluster IV, Workpackage 11:
Multi-Lingual Access  

Multi-Lingual Access

Why multilingual access to biodiversity websites? 

80% of the Internet's content is in English
43% of Internet users today cannot read English at all

  • Multi-lingual access will be provided to European biodiversity sites through a user-friendly interface on the World Wide Web. (Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish).
  • Given the amount (several terabytes) and dynamic (constant updating) of the information foreseen for e.g. GBIF, traditional 'manual' translation is not an option. Rather, machine translation on demand has to be applied such as is currently available, e.g. in the 'Babel Fish' tool of the AltaVista web portal (http://babel.altavista.com/tr). However, the quality of machine translation varies greatly. Results can be drastically improved if specialized dictionaries are available for the topic in question, and certain terms are excluded from translation.
  • The Translation Service of the European Commission (SDT) has developed its own machine translation system, starting in the 1970s and building on the Systran engine (compare to http://w4.systranlinks.com/), currently supporting 8 European languages and 18 language pairs. The service provides machine translation of documents for registered users.
  • SDT plans to add machine translation of web pages to its services in 2003. This work package will create special biodiversity dictionaries to be integrated in the machine translation service of the European Commission. It will also improve access to biodiversity information through vernacular instead of scientific names. It will provide a glossary explaining unfamiliar biodiversity terms in 8 European languages. European biodiversity web sites can avail of this service by showing a 'Translate' button on their pages. 
  • The activities in this work package will provide vernacular names to the GBIF Electronic Catalogue of Names and multi-lingual access and glossaries in support of the GBIF Outreach & Capacity Building sub-committee.




European Network for
Biodiversity Information

Global Biodiversity
Information Facility

FishBase: A Global Information System on Fishes

Expert Center for Taxonomic Identification

Catalogue of Life Programme

Biodiversity and Biological Collections

Convention on Biological  Biodiversity