USA to host Telugu Internet Conference

HYDERABAD: The first International Telugu Internet Conference will be held for three days from September 28 at Milpitas, California, USA, with focus on promotion of Telugu language on the internet through development of various tools.

The Information and Communication Technologies Department of Andhra Pradesh government and US-based Silicon Andhra, an organisation committed to promotion of Telugu language and culture overseas, are jointly organising the conference with the theme "Telugu in the Internet age".

The conference will assess the state of art of technologies and tools available to internet users and consumers of information technology products in Telugu, with focus on promotion of the language on internet.

Addressing a press conference to announce the event, state Information Technology Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, former minister Mandali Buddha Prasad, Silicon Andhra founder Kuchibhotla Anand and former MP Y Lakshmi Prasad said Telugu was the 14th most-widely used language in the world with over 10 crore people speaking it.

With Telugu getting recognition as a "classical language", emphasis is now on promoting it in a big way on the internet and bringing about a "technological revolution", they said.

About 60 scientists and technologists from India, USA, UK, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and Malaysia, working in fields of language computing, would present technical papers on developing a unicode for Telugu.

The conference would also make recommendations to close gaps, where they exist, in standards and technologies.

The ICT department has joined an internal consortium on unicode to work in co-ordination with software giants like IBM, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo for promoting Telugu on the internet.

"We are currently developing six Telugu fonts in unicode that will be standardised for internet use. These fonts will be brought into unicode by December this year," Lakshmaiah said.

Advances in language technologies such as standardised unicode character encoding, improved support in internet browsers, personal computers and mobile devices, as well as tools like spell checkers, online dictionaries, speech input and output and handwritten character recognition are rapidly increasing the use of Telugu on the internet, especially for real end users, he said.

"However, gaps remain in standards and technologies, such as character encoding, freely distributable high quality unicode- compliant fonts and speech in Telugu," Lakshmaiah said

"Over the next decade, internet use especially in towns and rural areas is expected to undergo a profound change.

Advances in mobile and computing technology will allow people in far flung areas to access internet, using technologies that cater to individual capabilities like speech input and output.

Broad adoption of internet-based information technologies will allow the government to deliver services more effectively and at reduced cost," he said.(PTI)

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