Vanakkam! Indian languages need to rule. Theek hai?

19 Feb,2016

 

By A Correspondent

 

Advocating the need for more content in Indian languages to propel internet penetration, a report titled ‘Proliferation of Indian Languages on Internet’ finds that enabling local language content on the Internet will lead to a growth of 39 per cent in the current Internet user base. 75 per cent growth will be from the rural users while only 16 per cent growth will come from urban India.

 

The report, published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), finds that English language still accounts for 56 per cent of the content on the worldwide web, while Indian languages account for less than 0.1 per cent. However, while Internet in India is predominantly English, there is high potential for regional language content. According to the report, in the last year alone, Hindi content on the web has grown by about 94 per cent, whereas English content has grown only at 19 per cent.

 

The report further asserts that there is significant scope for various stakeholders to benefit financially while addressing the needs of the local language content consumers. If the Indian language book publishing industry moves online, it can create a digital opportunity worth nearly US$ 7 billion for both the content providers and technology players.

 

According to the report, accessing the internet in local language broadly has two challenges.

1. The first challenge is to generate content in local languages and popularising such content for broader adoption2. The second challenge is on the technical front, pertaining to availability of Indian scripts for generating digital content

 

Currently, local content availability is restricted largely to news agencies as other forms/sources of content generation are extremely limited. User generated local content is still very low, as adoption of local language usage in social media and other such fields are still restricted.

 

The report cites some of the following initiatives that can help increase public awareness and engagement in local language content.

 

1. Development of websites in local languages and providing a user-friendly interface for local language user can be an integral part of e-governance initiatives by the State Governments.

2. Media companies should adopt digital media as a separate entity from print media and actively expand their e-presence. Currently, the former is seen as merely an extension of the latter.

3. Increased spending on online advertisements in local languages would help the companies generate higher revenues through online content in local language.

4. Digitalization and online release of the various local language archives and books in various libraries and universities across the country can be undertaken to increase local content availability

5. Social media companies need to support local languages and promote their availability. The interface has to be user friendly to provide easy interaction for the users.

 

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