Tilde, President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs, and Maltese Minister Owen Bonnici engage in discussions on digital tools for the languages of small countries

Language technologies

Ċentru tal-Ilsien Malti (The Centre of the Maltese Language) organised a discussion session on digital tools tailored for the languages of small nations, including Malta and Latvia. President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs, who is currently on a State Visit in Malta, and Minister for National Heritage, the Arts, and Local Government Owen Bonnici, actively participated in the discussions, alongside with a delegation from Tilde.

Despite their small size, both Malta and Latvia share a unique language that has evolved over time due to the socio-political history of each country. Both nations are actively working to strengthen the Maltese and Latvian languages, respectively, by employing various measures and initiatives while keeping themselves updated with the times.

Minister Owen Bonnici affirmed the government’s commitment to supporting projects that facilitate the development and distribution of linguistic tools promoting the use of the Maltese language, both in education and daily activities, particularly within the public administration.

Highlighting the potential for projects like the Maltese National Language Technology Platform traduzzjoni.mt, developed in collaboration with Tilde, to continue evolving, Minister Bonnici emphasized that the ongoing discussions provide an opportunity for various Maltese and Latvian entities to share experiences in the development of digital tools for languages. He encouraged more collaborations on innovative initiatives of this nature.

Minister Bonnici expressed his support for Ċentru tal-Ilsien Malti, acknowledging its excellent progress and looking forward to the upcoming National Forum on the Maltese Language, which he believes will offer an excellent opportunity for constructive discussions on strengthening and promoting the unique language.

President Edgars Rinkēvičs, stated that both Latvian and Maltese languages, despite the small size, are rich in history and culture. Technological collaboration between Latvian company Tilde and Maltese government serves as a testament that our countries can advance in ways that promote both competitiveness and the preservation of our cultural heritage.

Ċentru tal-Ilsien Malti Executive Head Norma Saliba mentioned that over the past months the entity has engaged with various organisations and individuals, and said that “Through these meetings we have received proposals of initiatives and projects not only to protect our unique heritage but also to strengthen the national language in a globally interconnected and multicultural world.”

 Ms Saliba stated that digital tools can contribute to the promotion and preservation of the Maltese language through collaborations between Malta and local and international entities. She cited the example of the traduzzjoni.mt project, an online platform providing free translations of legal texts and official documents. This project involves the University of Malta, the State Advocate's Office, the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), and the Latvian company Tilde, with the support of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, and the European Commission.

The discussions took place at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta and included various entities involved in work related to the Maltese language, artificial intelligence, information technology, research, and public administration.