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Is Google changing the European Union?


This article was first published on the Online EU Training blog

It’s a cliché to say that technology is changing our world. But two linguistic innovations from Google may change the way European diversity can live on while bringing Europeans closer to each other.


The question until now was: if we want a democratic EU with 23 official languages, how can that work without compromising on efficiency? Look at the European patent: an issue unresolved for 40 years because European leaders could not agree which 3 or 5 languages will be the ‘dominant’ ones to translate all patents into – so a political stand-off followed. Now, thanks to technology, Google offered to translate automatically and for free all European Patent Office filings via its massive service.


On a more practical level, Google is now experimenting with a real-time, automatic (!) voice interpretation service. It’s still being developed, but it may lead to significant changes for EU institutions who employ the largest linguistic service in the world: around 8000 translators and interpreters.



If this service becomes mature enough, we may see EPSO recruitments and EU officials affected by huge savings in human resources thanks to a free or low-cost service.


It starts with languages and patents, but it may slowly affect decision-making, infrstructure planning and who knows what else. Would Google be able to save the Euro one day? Let’s see…


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