FUEL project aims to develop language resources using open source efforts
Alongside tech enthusiasts in a packed hall at a five-star hotel in New Delhi, organisations like C-DAC GIST, Red Hat, Mozilla, The Document Foundation and CSDS-Sarai came together for several rounds of discussions on localisation through the open source way, at the FUEL GILT conference, 2016.
The FUEL project organised the two-day conference with the help of different organisations. This open source project, started by Rajesh Ranjan in 2008, empowers technology enablers with linguistic and technical resources and offers a reference standard for various localisation practices.
“FUEL is one of the rare projects that emanated from India, and is now associated with various language communities and organisations across the world,” 43-year-old Ranjan said.
Apart from its presence in applications being developed by various private organisations, FUEL is powering several e-governance projects of the Indian government.
At the conference, Vinay Thakur, director (projects) at the National e-Governance Division, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), stressed on the importance of localisation in major government projects. Thakur, who has more than two decades of experience in launching various IT and e-governance projects, revealed that the government is set to bring local language support to feature phones. The government is additionally working on a unified mobile app experience with a localised experience, he stated.
Thakur told the attendees that over 100 government websites are already featuring local languages to reach the masses across the country. There are also plans to convert an existing 630 million land records to local languages, he added.
Mahesh Kulkarni, associate director of C-DAC and head of GIST Research Labs, joined the conference as one of the panellists. He showcased the introduction of localisation in the National e-Governance Plan. Kulkarni also highlighted the availability of the open source GO Translate plugin that enables Web-based applications to offer language options and localisation in over 12 Indian languages.
The conference was attended by the volunteers of the Wikimedia Foundation who are translating Wikipedia content into various Indian languages. Also, Mozilla hosted a hackathon on the sidelines of the conference to nurture job-oriented skills among Indian developers.
“It is great to see that a project I started eight years back is now supported
by organisations like Red Hat, C-DAC, Mozilla and LibreOffice. More than 65 languages communities are working with FUEL,” Ranjan concluded.