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Govt working on real-time translation tool for Indian languages: MeitY

'We have started working on a very ambitious national language translation mission'

hindi Representational image | File

The government is working on a technology that can translate in real-time various vernacular Indian languages to enable the exchange of communications between two persons not speaking the same language, a top official in the Ministry of Electronics and IT said on Saturday.

This ambitious language translation project, with a timeline of 5-7 years, is being developed using artificial intelligence and modern technologies to end the language barrier in the country. 

 "We have started working on a very ambitious national language translation mission. See the magic of new technology. For centuries we have lived with the reality that a person who knows only Bengali cannot communicate with a person who knows only Malayalam. This will change," MeitY Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney said while speaking at a NIXI event.

The event was held on the occasion of National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) completing 18 years. 

Sawhney explained with an example that with this technology people speaking only Bengali will be able to communicate with those who speak only Malayalam.

"India is not just a country but has continental proportions. The number of languages is more than what Europe has to deal with," Sawhney said. 

He said that India has been able to take away check posts with the help of common tax system in a similar way language barrier can be ended with help of new technologies.

"It might take us 5-7 years but technologies that are coming in give us an opportunity to aim at this kind of ambitious level. We have to grow content on the internet in each of our languages," Sawhney said.

He announced that NIXI will provide a personalised email with 10 GB space to every user of the website with '.in' extension. This email will be available on demand. 

Sawhney said the Indian economy is slowly moving towards a digital economy with IT and electronics getting deeper in each and every sector. 

The MeitY secretary said digital services have expanded in every nook and corner of the country with common service centres that provide government services to citizens in 2.51 lakh village panchayats, while active internet user base has grown from 23.3 crore in 2014 to 79.5 crore active internet users. 

"Digital payments have grown exponentially. There are 25.5 billion real time transactions happening on an annual basis," Sawhney said. 

He said digital transactions have increased from 593.61 crore in March 2016 to 3,434 crore in March 2020. 

"With this kind of transactions volume, we are currently at the top spot in the world followed by China with 15.7 billion transactions...," Sawhney said.

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