Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd May 2008 20:52 UTC, submitted by irbis
In the News One of the biggest problems facing the European Union today is the fact that within its borders, 23 languages are spoken. This means that all the important documents have to be translated by a whole army of translators, which costs the taxpayer more than 1 billion Euros a year - and companies trading within the EU spend millions more. The EU-funded TC-STAR project aims to tackle this issue with technology: a system that eats speech in one language, and outputs that same speech in another.
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RE[3]: What's the problem?
by Trenien on Wed 7th May 2008 21:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What's the problem?"
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About that, I learned a very interesting thing a few days ago:
Until WWII, the most widely taught second language in Europe was French. Interestingly enough, the first reason why English gained preeminence was that one of the condition for a country to benefit from the Marshall Plan was to make English the most widely taught second language.

According to my source, the reasonning behind that was that if everybody spoke the same language, wars could be avoided.

Well, here we are, 60+ years later, and despite the huge effort, the great majority of Europeans are unable to really have a conversation in English.

I really wonder how things would be if it'd been Esperanto or another similar language that had been picked up...

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