India seeks translators for smoother computing

Friday, 30 June 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Janabhaaratii, a project of the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Mumbai, has started a hunt for translators to make more computing power available in five Indian languages.

"We plan to bring computing power to non-English speaking people by translating the desktop menus, help messages, files, FAQs, error messages etc., of GNU Linux System in various Indian languages," C-DAC officials said.

C-DAC, which was formerly known as the National Center for Software Technology and is a scientific society of India's department of IT, is involved in R&D in software technology.

Announcing this through techie circles in India, C-DAC said its Janabhaaratii project is funded by the official Technology Development in Indian Language (TDIL) group in the communications and IT ministry, but is a "community-oriented Indian language initiative".

To begin with, the organization has proposed translations in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and Malayalam.

C-DAC says that through the Janabhaaratii project, it has made available live CDs for these languages "that one can use to input, edit, and display and print Indian language text easily".

A live CD is an operating system, usually containing other software too, that is stored on a bootable storing device, so the computer can be booted without using the hard drive and without installing into permanent memory. The operating system runs directly from the storing device, which could be a USB stick, a CD or a DVD.

"We would like to invite prospective translators who can contribute to this work on a payment basis. We will hold workshops to acquaint them with the work on the second Friday of every month," said C-DAC.

The company announced that it would build the translators' familiarity with Indian language text-processing on the Free Software GNU/Linux platform, teach about different kinds of translations and issues involved, and offer tools to support translations.

Janabhaaratii is working to localize Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS). Its plans include contributing to the community efforts in developing a software suite based on GNU/Linux and made available in Indian languages.

Its objectives include enabling wide use of Indian language computing through FLOSS systems and applications localized in Indian languages.

Janabhaaratii says it has already "made contributions" to the computing of the Maharashtra government, municipal administrators' office at Worli-Mumbai, the Maharashtra State Police Control Room and colleges or universities in Mumbai and Rajasthan and elsewhere.

C-DAC itself has been working on Indian language technologies and products for over 15 years.

It earlier came out with the INDIX2 project, which makes computing in the Free Software world work better with Indic scripts, and "gives the world a more generic approach to deal with complex scripts". Some of the fonts developed under the INDIX2 project are now also made available to public from TDIL website

It has worked alongside groups like the IITs, IIITs, Indlinux, ankurbangla (a project for localization of Bengali), HBCSE (TIFR), FSF India, MarathiOpenSource group and corporations like IBM.

"The project needs cooperation of language specialists, linguists, computer specialists, users, (central and state) governments, academia and many others," said C-DAC.
Source: IANS
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