Category – E-Localization
Project Bhasha is a comprehensive program which aims to localize Microsoft’s flagship products, Windows and Office in 12 Indian Languages including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Gurumukhi, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Sindhi, Tamil and Telugu. This is designed as a collaborative programme for bringing together the governments, the academia and research institutions, the vendors and the industry associations on a common ground for backing local language computing. Under this program, Microsoft focuses its efforts along four key areas: product localisation, government collaboration, academia and developer integration and Bhasha Online Community portal. This portal aims at building a community of developers and linguists who will contribute towards the development and use of Indian languages for PC usage. There is no doubt that in a country like India; localisation will drive the next wave of computing by enabling access to technology for a broader section of society and thereby helping eliminate the current digital divide.
Besides helping to realise economic and social benefits, enabling the use of regional languages in technology can also facilitate the preservation of languages and cultures in an increasingly globalised world. With over 33 major languages and 1652 dialects, India is a nation of diverse traditions and languages. About 95 percent of the nation’s population prefers working in their regional language – while just about five percent conducts its business in English. It is obvious that the disparity in language usage contributes to the digital divide.
Since 1998, when Microsoft India identified localization as a key catalyst for effecting ushering in an IT revolution, the company has been working on overcoming the language barrier to computing since. With local language support offered by Microsoft’s Project Bhasa, governments will be able to accelerate IT literacy among the regional language speakers which can also become a means of accessing the services and schemes offered by the state.
ORIGINAL TITLE : PROJECT BHASHA
PRODUCER : MICROSOFT CORPORATION (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED
LOCATION : GURGAON, HARYANA, INDIA
MEDIA FORMAT : WEB/INTERNET
LANGUAGE : 12 INDIAN LANGUAGES & ENGLISH
Sinhala language has been in use in computer technology since the late 1980s. However, as no standard character representation system was put in place from the beginning it resulted in proprietary character representation systems and fonts. Then the Unicode standard, which has the explicit aim of transcending the limitations of traditional character encodings, was introduced to Sinhala in 1998. But even now, some major websites in Sinhala have still not adopted the standard which causes lot of compatibility issues when viewed in different browsers and operating systems. SiyaBasScript is a Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome extension which can convert web sites with non-Unicode Sinhala fonts to Unicode. This means SiyaBasScript not only allows the hasslefree viewing of a numerous web pages but allows copying and pasting of earlier non-Unicode content
to Unicode enabled sites using browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. This allows quoting, referencing and sharing of content via Unicode enabled sites that was nearly impossible when they were available as non-Unicode content.
Although Unicode has been considered as the standard for creating and viewing Sinhala language content, some Sri Lankan websites including some famous news sites still create content in non-Unicode and misuse methods that are for styling webpages, to display Sinhala text in various other font-faces. Although users can get around the problem of missing font files by installing them in the computer or using embedded online font files, it causes unnecessary disruptions. SiyaBasScript extension solves the problem by converting that text to Sinhala Unicode. It will help to increase the content of World Wide Web in Sinhala Unicode, allowing a far easier standard of representing, searching, sorting and processing knowledge. This takes away the need of recommending or restricting users to certain browsers for viewing, editing and sharing localized content.
ORIGINAL TITLE : SIYABASSCRIPT
PRODUCER : KEHELIYA BANDARA GALLABA
LOCATION : MAKOLA, WESTERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKA
MEDIA FORMAT : WEB/INTERNET
LANGUAGE : SINGHALA, ENGLISH
Ceylonmap.com is Sri Lanka’s first and only interactive, multilingual internet-based mapping system of its kind. It is a comprehensive geographical database on the country which is freely accessible by everyone. It aims to provide an easier way of locating places and tourist attractions. This site helps the user know more about Sri Lanka, its provinces, municipalities, districts, villages, streets, government offices, prominent landmarks etc.
It is currently available in three languages-Sinhala, Tamil and English and allows the map to be printed for ease of use. Just by rolling the mouse over certain part of the map, the visitors can instantly get information about that area in terms of text, links and images. Clicking on such links, visitors can get more detailed information about that particular feature such as panoramic view of hotels, shopping malls etc. and their exact locations.
Interactive web-based maps have several advantages over the older, static maps. As they let the users manipulate and interact with the data on the map, an interactive map surpasses the functionality of any other mapping system. They also allow users to zoom and pan as they wish, plot any number of data points, highlight markers or areas and a whole lot more. Ceylonmap is an attempt to bring these benefits in a localized manner with culture- specific content to the citizens of Sri Lanka. Tourism promotion is also an expected advantage as besides tourist attractions, the site also gives information regarding bus routes (with their numbers and colours) as well as railway routes and time tables. Interestingly, the site also hosts an e-book on Sri Lanka’s history from the time of King Vijaya to the contemporary times.
ORIGINAL TITLE : THE FIRST AND ONLY MULTILINGUAL WEB BASED SRI LANKA MAP
PRODUCER : MARIUS SANJEEWA JAYASURIYA
LOCATION : KELANIYA, WESTERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKA
MEDIA FORMAT : WEB/INTERNET
LANGUAGE : ENGLISH, SINGHALA, TAMIL
WWW : WWW.CEYLONMAP.COM
Although a basic tool which has been in use the world over for several decades, the calculator had not reached a great number of people in Bangladesh. The main reason for this was that, being partially literate, they were not familiar with Roman numerals. Calculators do not only save time but also provide more reliable answers to problems, both when used in businesses as well as classrooms. With the Bangla Calculator innovation, the benefits of using calculators can reach even the rural people on Bangladesh. All the mathematical operations in this calculator are just like normal calculators, only the display is different. The user has the choice to either use Bengali numeral characters or normal Arabic numerals. Both type of characters are printed on the keys and the display can be switched between the two, as per need.
It has been often seen that local content has significant advantages over content produced for global consumption. Being locally produced it can be more responsive to local interests and needs and users feel more comfortable using and accessing content that has been locally produced.Closely related to the issue of local content creation is the use of language. Local language content is bound to derive a positive response as local people can then have access to it and this can also help to reduce the domination of certain languages. Moreover, studies suggest that there is a greater possibility of ICTs being adopted when the community finds that it incorporates local knowledge and has regional-centric context. Bringing useful technology – affordable and adapted to local needs – can transform the ways and the extent to which technology is adopted by a community and people. Bangla Calculator is a remarkable project as it brings a very handy tool to the Banglaspeaking populace.
Original Title : Dual Language Bangla/English Calculator
Producer : Bangla Technologies
Location : Dhaka, BANGLADESH
Media Format : Offline
Language : Bengali and English