In a welcome move, which is both technologically-forward and in keeping with the heterogeneous heritage of the country, the Central Government is reportedly set to fund 100 startups to use its artificial intelligence-powered language platform.
This platform, which will be used for translation services in numerous languages, will be opened for private use to allow both MNCs and startups alike for their language translation needs.
A government official told a noted financial daily, “We expect the industry to take it further and the government will fund 100 startups directly with seed money to build on this technology and use it… The government will also use the platform for furthering its own initiatives such as translating videos of technical education lectures in local languages… Those services are accurate if you use them for small sentences, but the accuracy goes down for longer sentences and where domain knowledge issues such as legal issues are involved.”
Initially, the Government will reportedly rely on text material available in both Hindi and English and will resort to Parliament documents and Election Commission notifications which are available in public domain and are usually issued in 22 languages.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has reportedly already started work on the programme, under the name Natural Languages Translation Mission.
This programme was also listed in March 2019 by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (PMSTIAC) in their official document. The PMSTIAC is an overarching body which assesses the status of specific S&T domains, comprehends challenges, formulates immediate, mid and long term interventions and presents a roadmap to the Prime Minister. The Principal Scientific Adviser co-ordinates to facilitate and ensure implementation of major interventions by concerned Government Departments, Agencies and Ministries.