Rediff LanguagesA PTI report states that Rediff will allow customers to communicate in 22 different regional languages, from January 2009. We’re not quite sure of what Rediff means by the term “communicate” – it could mean that they’re expanding the scope of their email service to 22 languages, or even Rediff Bol, their Instant Messenger. Rediff currently offers email in 11 Indic languages. The same report also states that the company is launching two new portals offering the facility to communicate in Gujarati. Looking around, I found two language portals from Rediff – in Tamil and Gujarati. Both are from the  1999-2002 era, and are no longer active. The fonts don’t render properly…doesn’t appear as if they were using unicode.

We’ve written to Rediff, asking for a clarification of their plans. This announcement is surprising, given the context of what Rediff CEO Ajit Balakrishnan had said earlier this month, that 99 percent of Rediff Mail users prefer to use English, and therefore, “Let us not assume that users want Indian languages.” Many of you had commented on that statement, and some had even asked why Rediff has invested in the Indic language space. 

We’ve linked to a few sites above, from as long back as 2001. Almost seven years since, we’re still wondering about mass adoption of the Internet, leave alone the local language Internet. A poll:

[poll id=”4″]

Rediff’s Indic Language initiatives:
— Email in 11 languages
— Investment in Quillpad, an Indic Language transliteration product
— Investment in Eterno Infotech, a mobile application company with a mobile transliteration application
— Indic language search in 8 languages (more on Indic Language Search here)

Related:

— Our Indic/Regional Language segment
— @ IGF: “Let Us Not Assume That Users Want Indian Languages”