Bengaluru, Karnataka, India:
This National Technology Day it is important to highlight that it has been 50 years since Indian-language computing took hold, thanks to several veterans who paved the way. However, not much is known about Indic-language computing or the efforts that have gone into building a regional-language friendly online ecosystem. Indian language computing is a complex and hard problem to solve, given the variety of languages and their scripts.
In order to spread awareness on Indian-language computing, its history, importance, and applications, Reverie Language Technologies set into motion a series of powerful and insightful events.
Reverie Language Technologies gives back to the Indian-language community in honour of the golden jubilee.
Commenting on honouring 50 years of Indian-language computing, Vivekananda Pani, Co-founder, and CTO of Reverie Language Technologies said “On the National Technology Day, it’s a great honor for us to bring to the forefront the legacy of Indian language technologies, which laid the foundation for the Internet in Bharat. Although we still have a long way to go, we can be proud that such robust language technologies were developed in India and have eventually been adopted by the world.”
A virtual conference on Indian-language internet with key industry stakeholders
Reverie Language Technologies conducted a virtual conference on “How relevant is an English first internet for Digital Bharat?” in order to address the importance of providing Indian internet to the masses in their own language.
Even after nearly 25 years of existence, the Indian internet caters predominantly to English users.
Given that the pandemic drove 536 million people onto the internet, regional-language users are increasing now more than ever. To cater to this rapidly rising user base, key industry stakeholders came together to discuss the:
- Importance of Indian languages on the Indian internet
- Challenges and complexities in implementing them
- Infrastructure for the Indian internet to support such an ecosystem
- Differences and similarities between other non-English speaking countries and India in terms of regional-language internet usage
- Real-time applications and implementations of Indic-language technologies for the Indian internet
Key Industry Stakeholders
Arvind Pani, Co-Founder & CEO, Reverie Language Technologies
Vivekanand Pani, Co-founder, and CTO, Reverie Language Technologies
Rajesh Kalra, Executive Chairman, Asianet News
Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Indiamart
Sandeep Nulkar, Founder and CEO, BITS Private Limited, Co-founder, Vernac Language Technologies
The virtual conference was attended by over 250 attendees.
Virtual conference link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBx_gxFv6eo
Recognising the veterans of Indian-language computing
When it comes to Indian-language computing, Reverie Language Technologies and its current counterparts stand on the shoulders of giants who paved the way for building a solid foundation for the same. In no particular order, here are the veterans of Indic-language computing whom Reverie Language Technologies recognised by celebrating 50 years of Indic-language computing:
- Dr. RMK Sinha is the inventor of multilingual Graphics and Indian Script Technology (GIST)/IDC, ISCII ecoding, INSCRIPT keyboard, and other Indian language technologies. He is also the first person to work on Devanagari OCR in the early 1970s.
- Mohan Tambe is the founder of GIST group at CDAC in 1988. He contributed to and authored the ISCII encoding and INSCRIPT keyboard standards. He developed the script composition algorithms for all 10 Indian scripts standardised in ISCII for the GIST.
- SK Mohanty spearheaded the fonts and type design activities at the CDAC. The fonts were used to support Indian languages in the first computers, printers, televisions, mobile phones, and smartphones. He was instrumental in creating ISFOC and ISCII.
- Shashank Shekhar Pujari was instrumental in developing most of the early hardware solutions for use of Indian languages. Also, the first person to develop an Indian language subtitling system that helped Door Dharshan and other broadcasters to telecast regional language movies displaying local-language subtitles in different regions.
- Raymond Doctor designed the first Indian language spell checkers, and developed the first machine learning algorithms to enable transliteration of Indian names.
- Dr. Cooper founded the first private company dedicated to the development of font technologies for Indian languages in 1983.
- Doctor Bidyut B Chaudhuri developed a system for recognizing running printed text and software to convert Indian-language Braille text to natural text and vice versa. Also, immense contributions to pattern recognition, especially Indian language script OCR.
- Dr. Hemant Darbari, the Director-General of C-DAC, is a pioneer in machine translation for Indian languages using deep learning. He also designed the “Mantra” software that translates text from English to other Indian languages.
- Dr. P. Ramanujan from CDAC developed ISCII Standard Annex-G, Vedic extension overlay IS 13194:1991, and Palm Leaf Manuscript editor Pandulipi Samshodhaka.
- Prof. Pery Bhaskar Rao was the earliest researcher to work on text-to-speech (TTS) and speech-to-text (STT) for Indian languages in the 90s.
Launching RevAcademy to provide free Indian-language NLP courses to coders, developers, students, and entrepreneurs.
Reverie Language Technologies launched the RevAcademy in partnership with NASSCOM, Karnataka Startup, and the Government of Karnataka. RevAcedemy aspires to add value to the Indian-language ecosystem by imparting valuable knowledge and insights on Indic-language computing. This initiative allows individuals like coders, developers, students, entrepreneurs, and startups interested in pursuing a career in Indic-language computing and/or looking to break into the Indian-language NLP market.
The series of free NLP courses broadly address:
- How Indic-language NLP works
- The basics of Indian-language computing
- The variations of computing in regional languages
- The technologies and their implementation and real-time applications