Thursday, September 25, 2008

Firefox in Hindi, its finally here

Firefox has finally been able to mend its mistake of dumping Hindi in its major release 3.0. Firefox Hindi is now available (also, Marathi, Bengali and Telugu). Its still in beta. This release also contains a lot of fixes. You may download 3.0.3 here. [via]

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chandamama launches online editions in Indian languages

Chandamama launches online editions in Indian languagesPopular children's magazine Chandamama is now available online in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil (Marathi & Oriya are coming up). The sites use Unicode and are very elegantly designed. It seems the group is also trying to bring previous print issue online however they pertain for the duration 1947 to 1965.

Chandamama was the brainchild of filmmakers B Nagi Reddi and his friend Chakrapani who edited the magazine. Chandamama has been a popular source of Indian folklore, mythology and history in the form of stories. Since 1975 Nagi Reddi's son Vishwanath edits the magazine.

The online portal comes in the wake of Chandamama being recently acquired by Mumbai based Geodesic, known for its IM system Mundu. On the anvil are the plans to produce films, video and interactive books and CDs based on the magazines. [News source]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Amidst fanfare, Firefox-3 dumps Hindi

Mozilla Firefox

Image via Wikipedia



There has been much hullabaloo about the release of Mozilla Firefox 3, but sadly Hindi has been left out of the 46 different languages the popular browser was released in. In a blog post at Lingo24 the author rightly wonders about the exclusion of Hindi when some other Indian languages such as Punjabi and Gujarati were accommodated. The blog quotes a Mozilla spokesman putting the onus on the local volunteers. Hindi language packs, Mozilla said, needed further development. A popular Hindi blogger however recently attributed the issue to the nitpick from the peer group that has had problems with the Hindi localization team. Well such spats are not uncommon in the open source world but it seems Hindi lovers will have to wait longer till the strings are tightened.

Update: Ravi followed up on his comment made on this post, in a blog post (Hindi) and informed that DNA had also raised this issue. All in all, the newspaper report implies that the language volunteers were not motivated enough though "Mozilla admits that compared to other regions, its growth has lagged in India". Mozilla spokesperson Chris Hofmann clarified Mozilla's stand, as follows:
"...talks about motivation is definitely a misquote, it is unfortunate, and I apologies to for any misunderstanding. The question from the reporter was "Why doesn't Mozilla ship Hindi?", and the response was to say that we have worked to 46 different locale teams to get them shipping simultaneously with Firefox 3. We also talked about addons.mozilla.org which host other locales that are in development and some of which should be shipping soon. Our PR folks will follow up with the reporter to clear the misunderstanding around any lack of motivation that was implied in the article which is definitely not true, and the fact that we are very excited about the possibility of Hindi and other Indic languages shipping soon."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Yojana now available online too

Yojana, a premier monthly published by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, is now available online at its own website http://www.yojana.gov.in. It’s commendable that the government realized that the publication, one of the best sources of meaningful discussion on socio-economic issues and government developmental policies, should be made available to the young people who are increasingly using the Internet. More commendable is the fact that the website is made available in 12 Indian languages Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Assamese, Malayalam, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Urdu, Kannada, Punjabi and Oriya apart from English.

The good looking website will be a boon for research scholars & students who for years have been following the print publication for various competitive examinations. Yojana is also working on digitization of its entire archives spanning to 51 years of its publication. [Source]

Friday, May 2, 2008

Breaking News: Google adds Hindi to its translation service

August 1999 - present
At last Hindi has made it to Google's machine translation service that allows you to translate chunk of text or entire web pages from English to Hindi and vice-versa. It comes with another nice service that translates English Search strings in to Hindi and performs a Google search for you. Both the services are still very rusty and still distant from being usable at the moment. But it is a great start and Google deserves a pat on the back for this initiative which will surely boost use of Hindi on the web. More commendable is Google's willingness to improve this service, so if you find the translation poor or awry you can provide your suggestions right there. [Via]

Update: Almost a fortnight after we broke the story, Google official blog has the details on the new feature. Remember, you read the news first here :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Josh18 introduces Live Cricket Scorecards in Hindi

Hindi Portal Josh18.com has announced the launch of 'Live Cricket Scorecards' in Hindi, probably the first such feature on the Internet. This Live Cricket Scorecard is available on the 'Cricket section'. India has more than 40-million internet users and PC literacy in India has shown a steady YoY growth of more than 40% since 2004. Youth from Tier-2 and 3 cities and towns are increasingly logging on to the internet. [Read the full story]

Speak Hindi to browse web on your phone

Researchers at IBM's lab in New Delhi have created a pilot program called "Spoken Web" that lets speakers of Hindi surf the Internet using their voice. The feature is targeted at people who are unable to access web through mobile phones. IBM estimates that 1 billion people will surf the Internet on phones by 2011. The company plans to complete the test project in India within three months and have the application rolled out in the country by the end of 2008. [Read the full story]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Multilingual dictionary on 7 Indian languages soon

Madras university will soon bring out a multilingual dictionary on seven Indian languages to promote cross-cultural relations. The dictionary is aimed at making languages from the south more accessible in other parts of the country. The Multi-Lingual Dictionary of Indian Languages Project funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC) is a joint venture by the seven language departments of the Oriental Research Institute (ORI), one of the university's premier wings. The five-volume dictionary will comprehensively cover language and literature, art and culture, science and technology, administration and law, and, flora and fauna. [Read the full story]

Friday, April 18, 2008

IPL Cricket Website in Hindi

Noida based Mediaguru has released a new bilingual cricket website to bring the latest news on IPL 2008. The site is in English and Hindi. This probably the first such website in Hindi.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Penguin Indian goes to Britain

Penguin India is to launch its 2,000-strong back list into the UK and Europe via Gardners, targeting the UK's Indian population as well as those with an interest in India. An initial 100 titles are to be exported, most of which are English language titles, though a handful will be in the Indian languages of Hindi, Marathi and Urdu. The launch titles will cover fiction, non-fiction and children's apart from other favorites like the Penguin Hindi-English English-Hindi Dictionary and Thesaurus by Arvind Kumar and Kusum Kumar. [Source]

Monday, April 14, 2008

IDNs may debut in early 2009

Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia and a member of ICANN working groups believes that Internationalized domain names (IDNs) may debut early next year. He pointed out that the launch of IDNs does not just revolve around technical issues, "It's also a lot to do with policies or even politics...there are many of these issues in different languages to deal with as well and that's why it's taking so long." Chung added that DotAsia intends to provide multilingual domain names, including Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean and Thai. For example, the "asia" in ".asia" would not be the English term but the Chinese equivalent, in Chinese characters. [Read full Story]

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Advani's autobiography in Hindi soon

NDA’s prime minister-in-waiting LK Advani's autobiography "My Country My Life" is doing very well and the publishers say that a Hindi translation of the book is slated to come out in May, 2008. [Source]

Update: You can get a glimpse of the upcoming Hindi edition of the book (titled "Mera desh, mera jeevan") at the official website of the autobiography. The website features book excerpt, reviews etc.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Free texbooks from NCERT, on web

NCERT LogoImage from WikipediaStian, who blogs on education, was delighted to find free course ware of NCERT on the web in English, Hindi and Urdu. The material is available in PDF format. Stian opines :
There are all kinds of reasons to applaud this. As a student of Hindi, I love reading the readers made for the initial grades (with beautiful illustrations!), and as I move up, I can use the texts in parallel, reading the Hindi and checking with the English that I understood. Just like I suggested that the huge amount of Open Course Ware films of classroom lectures from all around the world, especially China and India, might be a gigantic boon to a comparative curriculum researcher, these text books would also be great for someone studying curriculum and pedagogics in India.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Yahoo Maps India adds local languages

Yahoo! MapsImage from WikipediaYahoo Maps India has launched recently a novel feature that shows Indian city maps in Indian languages relevant to the region. So if one opens up Yahoo Maps India and goes to Gujarat, s/he can click on the "vernacular" option and can see Yahoo India Maps in Gujarati. Similarly if ones searches for Mumbai, s/he can see the map in Marathi.

Yahoo Maps India had also recently launched its driving directions feature for Indian cities and auto rickshaw fares . [Read full story]

Thursday, April 3, 2008

NDTV launches Hindi news portal "Khabar"

NDTV group has launched a Hindi news portal at NDTV Khabar, a mix of popular portal Webdunia.com and NDTV sophistication, if you will. I recall the April fool spoof I did last year predicting NDTV's entry in Hindi blogging arena and it seems they did create a blogging section, though its unclean whether star Hindi bloggers Avinash and Ravish Kumar, who happen to be NDTV employees as well, will be writing there. Not practicing the high technology gyan NDTV preaches in its own tech shows the portal seems to have decided to stay in the archaic age and refrain from using Unicode on its site and add the clich├ęd "jyotish" (astrology) section. I wonder if they have heard of Google too ;)

The font "MitraOpen" is designed by Summit and the portal (probably) created by Vishwak.

NDTV Khabar was destined to be launched in January this year, following the launch of mobile portal NDTV active, but there is still no official buzz about its release though the site seems to be active since few days now.

All in all, good for Hindi on the web, but will it spell 'good times' for NDTV as well, time only will tell.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Business Standard launches BSHindi.com

Business Standard has released a Hindi business news website "BSHindi.com" as an extension to its Hindi business newspaper that was launched in February 2008. “The idea behind launching a Hindi website is to make Hindi business news available through every possible medium. Many business owners in India access the Internet to get trading related information and a lot of them are more comfortable getting the information in Hindi as compared to English.”, said Arun Natesh, Head, marketing, Business Standard.

The site is currently offering business news related to the stock markets, companies, economy and investments sourced from Business Standard and news agencies such as Reuters, Bloomberg and PTI. There is a dedicated section for regional business news, which covers areas such as Lucknow, Bhopal, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. [Read full story]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Google Docs/Apps add Indian Language Support

Google Docs in Google Apps now supports all popular local languages of India including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi and Oriya. [Read full story]

Monday, March 24, 2008

US headhunts Hindi teachers

Some schools in the US have decided to introduce Hindi as a foreign language with staples like French, Spanish and German. "We're going to teach our kids how to speak important languages. We will welcome teachers here to help teach our kids how to speak languages," US President George Bush had said during a National Security Language Initiative in New York.

With an initial budget of $114 million, this initiative aims at helping more Americans to become multilingual. Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Persian and Hindi are all "important languages". Instructors are being recruited to teach these from kindergarten right up to the university level. In India, the recruitment process is being facilitated by an arm of the human resources development ministry, called EdCIL (Education Consultants India Limited). [Read full story]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Govt to launch 700cr National Translation Mission

To enable easy use of Hindi in Government offices the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) plans to launch a website that will auto-translate English words (we fail to understand though how will this help quick translation, but then this is GOI). Also on the anvil is an ambitious 700 cr "National Translation Mission" (don't get too excited, this is yet to be approved by the planning commission).

The 5 year mission is aimed at creating Hindi translation from famous works in English and other foreign languages with subject matter ranging from Economics to Geography, History and Science & Technology. CSTT claims to have created standard Hindi Terminology for about 9 lacs English words and 6 lacs words from Kannada, Konkani, Bodo and Oriya in its 37 year term.

Commendable work, but we wonder if it has found any real-world application. Yet for the sake of Hindi we hope CSTT succeeds. [Read the full story in Hindi]

Monday, March 17, 2008

Government ashamed of Hindi?

How do the Governments fare in having their websites? US, UK and Canada have done a very good job on this, they have websites for many important government departments. Joe Anderson thinks India and China have done a fairly good job on this but wonders why the recently launched Indian portal on disability, Punarbhav, is not in Hindi.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hear, Speak and Blog Sanskrit

Vishvavani is an online Sanskrit magazine published by a bunch of students of Indian origin from various US Universities. Blogging in Sanskrit is also gaining ground. While some like "Kalidasa", maintained by Ajit Krishnan, a software engineer at Seattle, covers a wide variety of topics, some like "Learn Sanskrit" maintained by Himanshu Pota from Australia focus on specific topics such as teaching Sanskrit, Sanskrit songs, grammar, words and wise sayings.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yanthram: another online Hindi search tool

Yanthram is a new entrant in online Hindi search. It is build upon Google search API and Indic Input integration. It means you can directly input Hindi (supports Kannada and Telugu too) in its search box. [Read a small review here (in Hindi)]

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Local flavour

Read how Hindi Granth Kaaryaalay in Mumbai is serving the dual purpose of a publishing house and bookstore for last forty years.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Internationalized Domain Names

The advent of Unicode started a new era in international computing. After that, Internationalized domain names seem to have a great potential for non-roman languages. Varun Aggarawal explains what internationalized domain names (IDNs) mean and what possibilities it has for Indian languages. [Read full story]

Thursday, March 6, 2008

DTL mulls Hindi feed; launches local show with fashion designer Manish

Lifestyle channel Discovery Travel and Living (DTL) is weighing the options of launching a Hindi feed in addition to its existing English feed. [Read full story]

When Indian parampara becomes Pakistani wordspeak

Indian television serials are part of everyday life in Pakistan and slowly changing everyday vocabulary with words like 'parivar', 'prarthana' and 'parivartan' creeping in. [Read full story]

Hindi and Chinese may dethrone English

US economist David Rosen said the official languages of the two emerging markets, India and China, will soon be the most preferred language in the workplace in coming times. David was also quoted as saying,
"What I feel is that it is time the education planners should start focusing on basic education rather than going overboard on the Indian Institutes of Technology and IT. Otherwise a paradigm shift from agrarian arena to other sectors will result in people lining up the streets with begging bowls."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

BigAdda Launches Multilingual Messaging ...

Reliance's social networking portal BigAdda has launched multiple messaging: users can now post scraps in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. [Read full story].

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wikipedia wants increased contribution in Indian languages

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales expects increased contribution from Indian local languages on the site. While there are 280 million Hindi speaking people, there are just about 15,806 articles in Hindi on the site. [Read full story]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hindi sidelined in Internet, says study

Hindi, despite figuring in the world's top five most widely spoken languages, has failed to find a place even in the top ten languages on the internet, according to a study by the InternetWorldStats.com. Currently, Out of 6,000 popular languages spoken globally only 12 account for 98 per cent of the web content, with English being most prominent among them. The findings further said dearth of content in Indian languages could limit the growth of the number of internet users in the country. [Read full story]