Localization of Languages for eGovernance and RTIA


TDIL-MCIT,GoI – Technology Development for Indian Languages, Government of India

TDIL-MCIT,GoI Technology Development for Indian Languages, Government of India







Transiting from catch-up to competitive phase ICT
is the enabling technology for productivity
enhancement and socioeconomic development.
There is sprawling digital divide between nations
basically due to non-affordability of IT appliances
and non-availability of requisite computing facility �
fonts and software tools � in local languages.
Conscious efforts are being made through UNESCO
in this direction. Certain nations have also initiated
their own programmes to develop information
processing tools and applications in their languages.
India has taken a major initiative towards ensuring
ICT in local languages for rapid socio-economic
development and participation of people at large.
With this backdrop, the national mission on
�Technology Development for Indian Languages�
promoted development of basic information
processing tools and linguistic resources for Indian
languages through academic and government
supported R&D institutions spread over the country.
There are 22 officially recognized languages and 11
scripts in vogue in India. One script may be used for
more than one language. Hence, India is a unique
country with multilingual, multi-script environment.
Although with her talented manpower, India has
emerged as pioneer in Information Technology, with
the ability, to handle turnkey projects from abroad at
lower cost, higher accuracy and at faster pace.
However, purchasing power as compared to
developed nations such as USA is 1/15. In India
illiteracy persist at about 34.6% and literacy in
English is less than 5%. This necessitates support
for R&D in the focused areas to develop basic
information processing technologies and
consolidating and packaging them in user friendly
form and releasing them to the masses for free-use.
This will greatly promote people�s participation in
the process of using this technology and developing
innovative products and services.


Besides, the activities towards preparing for knowledge based
society would be through the projects such as cross
lingual information access, multilingual search,
voice-enabled query system, etc. Report on the
release of fonts and basic information processing
tools for Tamil and Hindi entails list of various tools
and linguistic resources being available for free use.
Similar releases will follow for other languages.
ELITEX-2005 showcased the multilingual products
and services under the theme �Grass root
applications using ICT�.

There is lot more in the open domain which needs to
be searched and integrated appropriately into user-friendly
tools/ products for free use in the multilingual environment.
UNESCO downloads covers the free downloadable software
on UNESCO website under different categories such as
Operating System, Digital Library, Development Tools,
Productivity Tools, Science, etc. Identification of such tools
and integrating them into user friendly products and services
for mass use in developing countries is desirable. Prof. R.K. Joshi,
highlights the issues about Font Designing and Font Technology
in the context of complex Indian scripts in great detail in the article
�Indian Language: Font Designing and Font Technology�. The
article on �Smart Fonts� discusses various issues related
to smart font such as what is Smart Fonts, what are different
smart font formats, what is Graphite, why was Graphite developed,
how is Graphite different from OpenType and other complex
script technologies? �LaTex� tool is a powerful macro-based
text formatter written by Donald Knuth, and is popular in the
scientific community. LaTeX is the de facto standard for the
communication and publication of scientific documents. This
is in open domain and can be used for multilingual publication.
The article on �Digital Library of India� describes various
activities like digitization of books, manuscripts, magazines,
journals, etc., and development of Digital Library tools like
Cross-lingual Information Access, Multilingual Crawler, Multimodal
Interface for physically challenged, Automatic search Indexing
tools, Multimodal authoring tools, Text summarization, Folk
songs search and retrieval techniques undertaken at different
centres like CDAC Kolkata, IGNCA Delhi, IIIT Hyderabad,
IIIT Allahabad is covered. Greenstone: a suite of software for
building and distributing fully-searchable, metadata-driven digital
library, digital library collections, and features of ABBYY FineReader 7.0
Professional Edition, optical character recognition (OCR) system,
with high-recognition accuracy and format retention facility are
also described. These basic technologies will enhance IT applications
in local languages and facilitate the country transit from catch-up
phase into competitive phase.


October 25, 2006 - Posted by | TDIL

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