Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It is better late than Never

Promoting Telugu through World Wide Web

Global Internet Forum for Telugu (GIFT) formed to promote Telugu

GIFT to facilitate creation of ‘browsers', ‘page editors' to enable Telugu writing on Internet

Telugu is often dubbed the ‘second language' of Silicon Valley. The mother tongue of the largest number of foreign software and hardware engineers working in the San Francisco Bay area in the US, otherwise known as Silicon Valley, happens to be Telugu. Telugu as a language, however, has very little presence on the World Wide Web (W3).

Former Minister Mandali Buddha Prasad, who has been working for getting classical status for Telugu, said that efforts were being made to use the Internet to promote Telugu. But much work needs to be done because Telugu does not have its own search engine like Chinese or Japanese. Even neighbouring Tamil Nadu was way ahead, with its own Tamil search engine.

Tamil Nadu has conducted nine Internet conferences to promote computing in Tamil all over the world. The Tenth Tamil Internet Conference will be held in Philadelphia. The International Forum for Information Technology in Tamil (INFITT), in association with the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN), will conduct the conference in the second week of June.

The Global Internet Forum for Telugu (GIFT), a non-profit and non-government organisation, was recently formed on the lines of INFITT to promote Telugu on the W3. Mr. Buddha Prasad said that GIFT would work to facilitate the creation of ‘browsers' and ‘page editors' that would enable the free use of Telugu writing on the Internet.

Appeal to techies

The forum has appealed to Telugu software engineers and the government of Andhra Pradesh to work for the development of at least six variants of a Unicode Compliant Telugu Font, he said.

Currently, 80 per cent of Telugu printing takes place in non-unicode compliant font making all the digital content useless for further processing. Unicode enables cross-linguistic conversion and universal access. There is a need for the Andhra Pradesh government to become a member of the Unicode Consortium to gain voting rights and influence.

GIFT in association with the A.P. IT Department will hold its first International Telugu Internet Conference in Silicon Valley in the last week of September, Mr. Buddha Prasad said.

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