During an international crisis, the fast and accurate exchange of information across languages is essential. The COVID-19 Multilingual Information Access (MLIA) initiative is a collective effort from the LT community to improve information exchange about the virus, across all EU languages and beyond, by support the development of applications and services in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative covers all non commercial research activities in various domains such as NLP, social sciences and humanities, and is endorsed by the European Commission and the European Language Resource Coordination (ELRC) and supported by key language technologies stakeholders in Europe including MT companies, universities, research centres and networks like CLARIN-ERIC, ELRA, the Universities of Padua, Utrecht and Lisbon, LIMSI and Pangeanic S.L..
This community evaluation effort has been initiated as part of the CLEF Initiative and aims at accelerating the creation of resources and tools for an improved Multilingual Information Access (MLIA), with particular reference to a general public use case, including information on social, economic or political aspects related to the pandemic, like e.g. self-isolation, social distance, school closing/re-opening, etc.
The initiative adopts an incremental tool evaluation over three rounds on the above mentioned main tasks, in order to enable the release of progressively consolidated tools and resources.
The effort is coordinated by representatives of the University of Padua and ELRA/ELDA and supported by the following task leaders:
Since it was launched in June 2020, the initiative achieved huge progress in collecting language resources and tools to support the development of applications and services in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, several hundreds resources are available on the ELRC COVID-19 repository under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Beyond this, training and test corpora for the three tasks defined in the initiative (Information Extraction, Multilingual Semantic Search, and Machine Translation) are also provided.
Given the scale of the COVID-19 crisis, the need for language resources and tools is obviously enormous. Everyone is invited to support the initiative by sharing resources on this subject. More information on how to contribute can be found here.
Details on the COVID-19 MLIA Eval effort are available on the initiative’s homepage.