Centre for Internet & Society

A consultation on 'digital futures of Indian languages' will be held at the CIS office in Bangalore on December 12, 2015, to generate ideas and structure the Indian languages focus area of the CSCS Digital Innovation Fund (CDIF). It is being led by Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS), and Tanveer Hasan, A2K programme at CIS; and is supported by CDIF.


A Consultation to Generate Ideas for the CSCS Digital Innovation Fund (CDIF)

We at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore; Centre for Indian Languages in Higher Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; and Access to Knowledge Programme, Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, have between us more than a decade-long experience in the field of Indian languages for higher education and Indic language computing. Together we have, over the past ten years, produced new research and incubated innovative pilot projects to stimulate the use of Indian languages in higher education, especially in the context of a widening linguistic divide in that sphere.

As a new phase in this process, we would like to explore the possible digital futures of Indian languages. Already, there have been many interesting but sporadic attempts at digitization of Indian language text resources and development of software for translation between Indian languages and a host of Indian language support platforms for web-based services. While this momentum is impressive, a lot more remains to be done, when seen against the backdrop of the surging demand for Indian language computational tools, especially those with potential for knowledge-use, that is, tools which could be used by students, teachers, researchers, media analysts, self-learners, bibliographers, librarians, archivists, collectors and the public at large.

The CSCS Digital Innovation Fund is looking to help set up new platforms that aid in generating, processing and making available a wide range of born-digital content. Under the CDIF, the Indian Languages initiative will support the development of new technological aids, apps, software programmes, websites, DYI digitisation devices, and any other project which will enrich the digital use of Indian languages.

We are organising this national consultation with the intention of bringing together people who have been or would like to be involved in such initiatives. We expect each participant to make a short 10-15 minute presentation on an idea they would like to develop, to take part in the general discussions, and to offer feedback to other speakers. We hope to learn from these conversations so that our own research and initiative development will benefit from the inputs as also to contribute to the conversation in such a way that isolated practices, innovations and opportunities are given a platform for greater generalisation and scalability.

- Tejaswini Niranjana, Ashwin Kumar AP, and Tanveer Hasan