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An Indic language wishlist for Government – #NAMAindic

"Parity is the word", said Venkatesh Hariharan, at #NAMA: The Digital Future of Indic Languages, explaining that "If I use a device in English, we should make it as easy for anyone to use it in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati. To arrive at that word, what are the things that need to be done at the back end? Some of the fundamental issues such as fonts are going away. Thankfully, one the good things is that Google has released some exceptionally high quality fonts in the public domain." Hariharan mentioned that the Indian government has invested Rs 50-60 crore in creating language resources - fonts, dictionaries, thesaurus, and OCR tools and technologies, and there is no real way of monetizing this. It needs to be open sourced, because they are not accessible to people outside government and academic institutions. "A lot of those investments will become redundant very soon. If you look at the license of the fonts, you can download it for your use. The challenge is how many people download and install it? So far, computing in Indian languages is a niche product. There are only two categories of people who do this: the writers and publishers. The other is the hardcore maniac. There is a category of people who are early adopters, and they will install the fonts etc. Once you cross that group, there is a huge chasm, which it will take a huge effort to cross. Late adopters are not interested in fiddling around. It just has to…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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