Sunday, May 11, 2008

Web of Possibilities with Indic Tools for India

Barely 2 weeks ago I blogged about my brush with Indic Language Support in Blogger - a post which garnered several comments from the Hindi blogging world - with most of the comments being in Hindi. Most of the Hindi bloggers who left comments maintained solo blogs while being on several group blogs as well. One such group blog - Buno Kahani (Weave a Story) is an interesting attempt at collaborative story writing by a group of Hindi bloggers!

Clearly, that one post did much for my appreciation of a phenomenon that I was simply not (consciously) cognizant of - how a large percentage of India's populace is enjoying access to the several Indic language web tools that allow them to express themselves in an Indian language of their choice.

In the comments was also one by priyankar who urged me to take some time out to write a similar blog in Hindi - share my thoughts on education and technology in a language that will serve the Indian Hindi speaking and reading population as well -
"आपके शैक्षिक और तकनीकी अनुभव का कुछ लाभ हिंदी के माध्यम से भी देश के लोगों को मिलना चाहिए . इसके लिए थोड़ा समय निकालें - यही अनुरोध है"
Well, thankfully, Google's new English-Hindi-English translation tool obviates any extra effort on my part to make this wish come true! See the "Read this blog in Hindi" link on the top right of this page? Thanks to Google, an automated Hindi translation of this blog can be produced at the click of a button. Go ahead and try it - right here, right now!

Even though the translation is nowhere near perfect yet, the potential for this in India is HUGE! Think about it! Any page on the web in English hitherto inaccessible to someone who cannot read English, is now available in Hindi as well. Imagine what this could mean for education in parts of small-town and rural India where there is Internet penetration, but where English is neither spoken nor read. Vast amounts of educational content on the Internet in English were until now out of the reach of the non-English literate population of India. Not anymore!

Google's Translate toolkit toolkit also has a text translator which allows any text to be translated from English to Hindi or vice versa. For more information on all the capabilities of the toolkit - check out the Google Press Release - Google aapki bhasha mein (Google in your language).

Here's a snapshot of the home page in Hindi. As you can see, the translation is not quite perfect, but still, one can get the gist of the text.
It's enough to get my head buzzing with ideas and possibilities :)


Ankit Dangi said...

I hope you know about the efforts that the Indian Govt. has taken in these areas. There are many, but let me highlight a few.

Almost, an year ago, C-DAC Mumbai and B'lore had come up with the following.

1. MaTra2 - a Fully-Automatic Indicative English to Hindi Machine Translation System. Try it here, and know what it can do, and can't do.

2. Indix - Indian Language support for the Linux Operating System

3. Janabhaarati - Localisation of Free/Open Source Software: Development, Deployment and Community Building.

4. Pragati - a Hindi browser with an inline English-Hindi dictionary support.

5. BharateeyaOO.o - an initiative to bring to India in Indian languages.

6. NaraadJ - is a Hindi Text-to-Speech Engine for Java on Windows.

Apologies, if you already knew about this.

Shuchi Grover said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shuchi Grover said...

Thanks very much, Ankit. I knew of some, but not all on that list. Great to see the efforts of several players in this space, including those of C-DAC.

All of this will certainly help millions in India cross the language barriers contributing to the dig. divide.

Ankit Dangi said...


I had only tried to bring some of the efforts taken in these areas. Also, on the upfront of educational technologies, there have been other efforts too. You could probably get some information on their website.

I just hope, I've not contributed to Link Spamming. No Intentions, please.