Technology helps Gujaratis spread the Gujarati word

Sunday, 23 February 2014 - 8:30pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
Single-language speakers can now post Gujarati content on the web.

Thanks to new technology introduced by global IT giants like Microsoft and Google, typing in Gujarati has been made easier and simpler than before. Now, over 8,000 poems and 6,000 articles have been written in Gujarati by more than 2,000 bloggers and writers online. Every day, at least a new Gujarati blogger keys in, uploads and shares his or her views or poems on the Net.  

Posting your thoughts, poems or other writing online is quite easy these days because one does not have to send the font files along with the content or article. New Unicode fonts and phonetic keyboard layout creators (which are free of cost) have made typing in Gujarati with minimal spelling errors very easy. Those willing to write in Gujarati have upgraded themselves with the latest technologies, said blogger Urvish Kothari. “Earlier, people had limitations in writing and sharing in Gujarati. Now, both have become easy.”

Surprisingly, despite these technologies being available for many years now, the number of people knowing a single language like Gujarati as well as able to operate computer, mobile phone or tablet PC and access the Net is rather low. It is believed to be just a few lakhs.

“Earlier, I had to install a specific font, type the content and mail the content along with the font file. If I wanted to upload my content in Gujarati on a website, I had to make the fonts available on the same website,” said Biren Kothari, a blogger and writer from Vadodara.

“Now, any computer in the world, which has Unicode capability, is able to read and allow a user to key in Gujarati text even without a Gujarati keyboard,” he added.

However, there are also bloggers, who believe that due to the availability of Unicode data and phonetic keyboards, people have started misusing technology. “This technology is very good and useful to people.

Nowadays, people have simply started copying and pasting online content without giving due credit to the original source though. This has resulted in copyright issues,” said Amdavad blogger Binit Modi.

Besides residents of Gujarat, a lot of Gujarati-speaking NRIs in the US and UK have also been writing blogs in Gujarati. “There are at least 2,000 registered Gujarati bloggers on the internet and more than 8,000 poems and over 6,000 articles are available online. This could only happen because of blogging and access to Unicode technology that supports Gujarati language, which have helped to make it popular in the last five to six years. It will gain more popularity going forward,” said Mrugesh Shah of readgujarati.com.

“Technology will connect single-language people to the whole world,” said Meghashyam Karanam, lead product marketing manager office: Consumer and Small Business and Localization, Microsoft India.

“Bridging the digital divide by empowering Indians to use computers in their mother tongue will exponentially scale up the benefits of information communications technology in our country. Microsoft is deeply committed to enabling Indic-language computing and give impetus to computer adoption across India,” said Karanam.

G FOR GUJARATI
60% of households in Ahmedabad have at least one computer

12 lakh Gujarat households have desktops, notebooks, or netbooks

Less than 10% of 6 crore residents in states speak and write in English

India has pirated software in over 80% of home PCs

Typing in Gujarati possible even in pirated software.


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