‘Spain and science’ Symposium brochure
The second international symposium 'Spain and science' took place in March this year in Rome. It was organised by ASIERI, the association of Spanish researchers in the Italian Republic. The Translation Centre was represented by Anna Samiotou, member of the Advanced Language Solutions section, who gave a presentation on the advances and challenges in the use of Neural Machine Translation empowered by Artificial Intelligence at the Centre.

The hybrid event was targeted at the Spanish-language scientific and academic community, institutional leaders, translators, linguists, language technology experts, science journalists, teachers and students. It offered an overview of the efforts made by scientific, academic, institutional and field-related professionals to promote the position and visibility of the Spanish language in science and technology in the international context.

While English is the lingua franca in science and technology, texts written in one’s mother tongue usually gain in depth, coherence and clarity. Moreover, as the use of a given language in Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications and language technology tools can influence the evolution of such language, and considering the power of words in shaping the way people think and feel, the use of common scientific and technological strategies across linguistic communities would help them to gain control over the language’s evolution.

In the case of Spanish, the efforts to promote its use in science and technology include fostering open and easy access to scientific publications, encouraging the active participation of organisations and motivating them towards their digital transformation and interoperability, promoting common national and international strategies and synergies, and developing the network of native speakers.

The symposium hosted presentations on linguistic data, datatypes and their use in AI applications, with references to open data, linked data, data spaces, data lakes, data governance, data origin, data cycle, data market, data economy, as well as related open-source initiatives such as the FAIR principles referring to a set of attributes that enable and enhance the data to become more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable for both machines and humans. The presentations also focused on the following topics: the DIKW pyramid, representing the relationships between Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom; BabelNet, a multilingual semantic knowledge and lexical resource network, integrating information from various sources such as WordNet with Wikipedia; and LDS, the Common European Language Data Space initiative aiming to establish a platform and marketplace for the collection, creation, sharing and reuse of multilingual and multimodal language data.

The Translation Centre was represented by Anna Samiotou, member of the Advanced Language Solutions Section, who gave a presentation on advances and challenges in the use of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) technology empowered by AI at the Centre. These may apply to all languages translated by the Centre in different ways, with the aim of improving both the system’s performance and the quality of machine translations. Given the focus of the event on the Spanish language, the presenter gave specific examples of challenges for Spanish. These included pre/post-processing practices, how artificial neural networks can improve in their predictions and the added-value of human-in-the-loop, providing continuous and valuable feedback and contributing to more effective results. The advent of Large Language Models (LLMs) and Generative AI technology offer new challenges and potential for enhancing the Centre’s language services through innovation.