DESCRIPTION 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.
EVALUATION 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