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PM Narendra Modi asks ministries to create websites in regional languages

At present, only Prime Minister's Office website is available in eight regional languages besides English and Hindi.

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2016, 08.45 AM IST
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The new directive comes after Modi's Mann Ki Baat programme has been made available in all 23 officially recognised Indian languages besides English and Hindi.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all central ministries to make their websites available in all officially recognised Indian languages “on priority“.

“The Prime Minister wants that central government websites should not be available just in English and Hindi...they should be multi-lingual as people across the country access them for information. This is now a priority job,“ a senior government official told ET.

This would be a humongous challenge for ministries that are still struggling to make their websites completely bilingual.Right now, only Prime Minister's Office (PMO) website is available in regional languages. It's available in eight regional languages besides English and Hindi while Press Information Bureau (PIB) offers its press releases in 12 regional languages besides English, Hindi and Urdu.

The new directive comes after Modi's Mann Ki Baat programme has been made available in all 23 officially recognised Indian languages besides English and Hindi.

“The PM's vision is to let the people access the digital content in their own language,“ said the official quoted earlier. The job has been assigned to the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEIT) which has roped in its in-house R&D arm Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).

An official at MEIT said the first target is to make 50 central government websites bilingual ­ in English and Hindi ­ by next April before adding about a dozen regional languages to the ambit.

The IT ministry will make an enabling framework with technology ba sed on machine translation that would allow ministries to translate their content to different regional languages themselves, the official said.“We will also post a series of evaluators ­ these will be people who are qualified and will have the strength to browse and quickly translate. Ministries can pick from there.“

The official said that besides CDAC other institutions that have done research on machine translation and have certain intellectual property , such as IIT Madras and Jadavpur University , would be roped in for the project.

The official added that the government plans would combine machine translation with human interference to make official websites available in regional languages. That is because the accuracy of machine translation is only around 70%.

“So from the machine translation version, a person -an editor of sorts -can browse it and convert it accurately . So the first version will be machine translated and a human will oversee it,“ the official said.

States have also been told to make their websites available in regional languages. “For some services which are provided to states we can look at additional local language which caters to that particular state,“ the official said.

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