Project Bhasha is a key milestone in Microsoft’s effort to stimulate local language computing and take IT to the masses, driven by the fact that 95 percent of Indians use their local language rather than English in their work and personal life. Project Bhasha is a comprehensive program, that aims to localize (provide local interfaces) to Microsoft’s flagship products, Windows and Office. Bhasha is a program which brings together the governments, the academia and research institutions, the local ISVs and developers and the industry associations on a common ground for promoting local language computing. Microsoft focuses its efforts along four key areas primarily: • Product Localization • Government Collaboration • Academia and Developer Integration • Bhasha Online Community portal.
What we deliver
The content and services being offered include: • Product Localization: Through Language Interface Packs (LIP) for Windows and Office applications available in several Indian languages, creating bilingual and trilingual dictionaries, Data Converters, Indic Language Input tool facilitates users to input localized text easily and quickly to name a few. • We collaborate with Government bodies and nodal IT agencies collaboration to create glossaries which are used to create local language interface. We are also working closely with several state governments on localization of e-governance applications. • Microsoft has been working in close association with the Academia and the Indian Developers and provides them with tools and resources for promoting language computing. We have created a common platform called www.bhashaindia.com for people to express their views on language computing, attracting developers and end users to post their queries on the real time issues they face in their daily activities. People can also download tools required for language computing from the download center on this portal.
Whom we deliver
With language computing, we have been able to take technology to the grass root levels where even a small time shop owner sitting in a village in Gujarat is now-IT enabled. He has the choice to enjoy the efficiency and accuracy that comes with ICT within the comforts of his preferred local language. To add to this, Microsoft has also created the Bhasha Online Community portal which is India’s leading community for Indian language computing. The discussion forum on Bhasha India portal is a popular platform for people to express their views on language computing, attracting developers and end users to post their queries on the real time issues they face in their daily activities.
Why is the project unique?
Project Bhasha, our language computing initiative has been unique not only in form but in substance as well. Microsoft has been at working on language computing in India since 1998, since the first India visit of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. The idea then was to usher in the IT revolution in the country in a phased manner – and localization was identified as the key catalyst for effecting this development. Project Bhasha specifically was launched in 2003, and has since been instrumental in bringing together governments, the academia and research institutions, the local ISVs and developers and the industry associations on a common ground for promoting local language usage in IT. We have been very conscious of the need to bring down the barrier of language and believe this can be done through partnerships and the growth of the language community. Whether it is the Language Interface Pack for 12 Indian Languages, of the Sanskrit ‘locale’, we have quite a bit over the years. And as Unicode encodes more Indian languages, we keep reviewing the need for support. We now also provide the Visual studio CLIP (Caption Language Interface Pack) – a simple language translation solution that uses tooltip captions to display results – in the four languages of Hindi, Malayalam, Oriya and Tamil. In our latest offering, the Windows 7 beta – Hindi is one of the only 8 languages supported at the beta stage. Hence not only the idea, but the approach to language computing has also been very innovative and has helped us make a huge impact in the bridging the digital divide.
Over 95 per cent of Indians use their local language more than English in their work and personal life. With the rapid growth of IT in the country, there is a huge demand for localized products and applications in India. Unless a majority of Indians have access to information, they cannot participate and contribute to the growth of the country or fulfill their own personal and professional aspirations. However, bridging the language divide is not going to happen in isolation with one player providing all the answers – which is why we have chosen the community approach. By taking technology to the grass root level that too in their preferred local language, while on one hand we have expanded the reach of technology on the other hand we have taken the benefits of the ICT to people underserved by technology. For instance, the benefits of deploying citizen services in local languages are clearly visible. Early Government-to-Citizen Portals such as eSeva have proved the feasibility of the model. Frost & Sullivan expects this trend to extend on both scale and scope: a wider bouquet of services will be available to a larger section of citizens. An ideal front-end of all government websites and service delivery mechanisms would be simultaneously availability in twenty-three languages – the twenty-two languages recognized by the Constitution of India, plus English. Localization can hence be instrumental in creating digital content which is essential for the development of our nation.
Microsoft Corporation (India) Private Limited
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URL/Website – http://www.bhashaindia.com/Community/CommunityHome.aspx