news.bridge is dead, long live news.bridge!

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news.bridge team members Hina Imran and Peggy van der Kreeft overseeing on-the-fly subtitle creation at GMF 2019 in Bonn

Hello and welcome to the project wrap-up post – which actually isn’t a project wrap-up post. Funding by the Google DNI officially ran out on June 30th and the consortium is about to disband, but work on news.bridge will continue (hooray!). There’s a new team (more on that later), and a decision to polish up a platform that is already quite shiny.

Lots of happy users

Deutsche Welle editors have been testing news.bridge in various use cases for several months now. As of June 2019,  content in English, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish has been produced and evaluated. Test runs in Arabic, Farsi, Swahili, and Turkish are underway. External beta testers include a wide range of media companies from Euronews to 1&1/GMX.DE, but also international freelance journalists.

While news.bridge still has a couple of glitches and not all features have been implemented yet, the platform has been met with a lot of applause.  More conservative testers called it “very good and very useful”, feedback from enthusiasts sounded something like this: “Fantastic! Magic! When can I have this?”

news.bridge saves users a lot of time when re-versioning and adapting content for another language (or format).

HLT out and about

The fact that our consortium has been invited to dozens of language technology and innovation events also demonstrates the heightened interest in news.bridge. Recent event highlights include sessions, talks and presentations at the MESA Content Workflow Management Forum (London), ECIR (Cologne), MDN Workshop (Geneva), and, of course, our major live testing operation at GMF (Bonn).

2018 saw us speak at Subtech1 (Munich), the Workshop on Corpus Analysis of Time-Based Arts and Media (Berlin), a Google DNI Summit in Paris – and many other great events. In late November, we also partnered with the SUMMA project to host the Language Technology Hands-On Days in Bonn – another fruitful get-together that drew almost 100 participants.

New features, new services, new projects

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Screenshot of the latest news.bridge user interface.

As news.bridge is growing internally and externally into what could become a proper SaaS platform, we’re working on redesigning the GUI, adding new functionalities (e.g. with regard to file import/export), and implementing new APIs: The EU’s MT service eTranslations is already available (albeit currently only to users at public institutions), and Microsoft has signaled their interest in adding some of the Azure Cognitive Services to our HLT mash-up solution.

In addition, news.bridge will be used as one of the output platforms for GoURMET, a major EU-funded project focusing on (better) machine translation for low-resource languages and domains. Hopefully, we’ll soon be able to offer you state-of-the-art MT for some very exotic language pairs.

Become a part of the news.bridge family

In case you were wondering if you can still join us as a beta tester: Yes, you can! Simply write to info@newsbridge.eu – and get a free, fully functional trial account. Furthermore, we’re always open to tech companies offering NLProc APIs (ASR, NMT, TTS). Our aim is to get as many high-quality services as possible under one umbrella.

Last, but not least, we’d like to thank everybody who has contributed to making news.bridge such a successful project. The past 18 months were a blast – and the future is wide open. HLT FTW!