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Taking Hindi to the core of computers
By Sanjay Suri, Indo-Asian News Service
London, June 27 (IANS) It was nice, wasn't it, to use the Devnagari script
on Microsoft Word?
Nice, but not good enough, says Vijay Kumar Malhotra, a former director for
official languages with Indian Railways, and now in pursuit of taking Hindi
to the core of computers rather than just the face.
Malhotra, now language consultant to Microsoft for developing applications
in Hindi, is taking Hindi to more than the Word programme. He is working
with his team to make all applications in the Office XP system in Hindi.
That means Word, Excel and Power Point, all with Hindi integrated into the
And with Word too, not just Hindi as an option but with Hindi built into the
core system. So that right from the menu bar with its options of 'file',
'view', 'help' and what not, everything will be in Hindi.
Now his team is working to introduce sorting facilities in Hindi, according
to the Hindi alphabet.
Malhotra, who has worked on these programmes earlier with York University in
Britain and with the University of Pennsylvania, has developed an
auto-correct facility and templates already in Hindi.
The through-and-through Hindi composition is coming up in the Office 2003
programme shortly, where "the whole environment will be in Hindi", Malhotra
"Now we will be able to handle all data applications in Hindi," he says.
"Like dictionary, thesaurus, indexing and other functions like this."
Malhotra is in London these days to take possible uses of Hindi further. One
is to develop models available on computer to teach Hindi to students
learning it as a new language.
That is taking him to Hindi learning centres in Britain to study needs, and
ways of meeting those needs.
"The new applications will also be a major new tool for e-governance in
India," Malhotra says. "Programmes for promoting this have been launched in
Haryana, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. This is a big new
The implications will be that use of computers will gain new scope in
villages where the English interface for primary functions was a
restriction. "This will open the gates for e-governance and e-learning,"
He is also studying the Cobuild project developed in Birmingham University
that takes millions of words in text and draws from them principles of
usage. Teaching material is developed on that basis.
The Indian government is tying up with Microsoft to develop Hindi further in
Microsoft systems, he says.
--Indo-Asian News Service
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