A Visionary in Unlocking the Internet Language Barrier
Date: Friday , February 01, 2013
A major chunk of the Internet content that the Indian user views, is in English. India has 22 official languages and it creates a new level of complexity in which one is not at the liberty of taking the same approach as would have been the case if there existed one predominant language and applied it 22 times. The conviction to cater to this complication facing the Indian Internet user resulted in Ram Prakash, CEO, Tachyon Technologies, a products company focusing on designing and building machine learning solutions to enrich human machine interactions, being listed in the prestigious MIT TR35 top 20 Innovators in India.
From humble beginnings
Coming from Shimoga, an innocent city in the central part of Karnataka, Ram Prakash, mostly interacted in his native language and learnt English only as a teenager. He went on to complete his bachelor degree at IIT, Chennai.
In a country like India where 30 languages are articulated by more than a million native speakers, 122 by more than 10,000, Ram Prakash considers that language would be the key in taking the best of Internet to the masses. Fresh outof college his only intention was to initiate a company in the technology space.
A few years down the lane, Tachyon Tech headquartered in Bangalore, India, now develops technologies that enable people to write with ease in a user's own language and discover interesting Indian language content on the Internet.
India's Internet users have topped 100 million, and its online population could overtake the United States' within two years. English simply will not suffice for connecting with India's burgeoning online market. If a billion people have to be reached out to, or even half a billion, to bond with them one has to deal in multiple languages. Given the current limitations of the leading search engines in handling the nuances of Indian language content and the inadequacies of the current NLP techniques for Indian languages, the company is exploring new approaches for aggregating and ranking good quality Indian language content. "For Indian consumers, having a platform for finding interesting articles across various genres is of importance. This combined with the abilities to express themselves in their own language, will pave way for most of the useful online services, besides infotainment content, to reach out to the masses in India," says Ram Prakash.
Typing in Local Languages made easy
In 2006, all the perseverance paid off and Quillpad, an online service for typing in 10 South Asian languages was born. It revolutionized the way an Indian used the Internet. Prior to Quillpad users were expected to follow rigid rules in typing. Quillpad uses machine learning methodologies to intelligently convert phonetic input into correct representation in a chosen Indian language script. "Many graduates from India prefer the contours of their native tongues for everyday speech. You must give them an opportunity to express themselves correctly, rather than forcing them to use English," explains Ram Prakash. Quillpad is the first initiative to change this system. The idea was well appreciated and went on to win the 'Best in Innovations' award 2007 from IT.in.
Connecting through Languages
Tachyon Tech's products, ever since have been addressing a very niche requirement in India. Surprisingly,much impetus to customer interaction has not been deployed from the companies. The credit goes to the quality of the products, which have been the first of their kind respectively.
Applying the cutting edge technology at hand, Tachyon Tech are on the verge of launching service where people will be able to share and locate different language content online. The Indian language initiative by Tachyon Tech has been driven by technology and it will continue to be the same in the future.
The Indian Entrepreneur and his Woes
Ram Prakash believes that the Indian entrepreneur's stereotypical approach with the companies of India is reason for their demise. The fear to step into new waters causes them to wait for tried and tested solutions and leads to their downfall. Add to that the preference of U.S. technology companies over their Indian counterparts just leads to a domino effect and eventually leads to the companies' and the entrepreneurís failure.
The credit to the success achieved by Tachyon Tech over the span of 12 years goes to Ram Prakash who believes that the key to building a great company is to build a team that covers all dimensions and aspects of running the company. In his opinion a jack of all trades is required in these testing times and not a master of one. If there is a reason for him to stand out amongst the thousands of entrepreneurs in India, then it is because of his doctrines which he has adhered to all these years. He has been a man who has chased his dreams and has persevered to envision them. Today he stands as an example to the budding entrepreneurs of India.