New Delhi: India has become the largest ever a market for the internet and mobile services, given their utility and rapid public acceptance for better lifestyles and instant communications. But what comes into play is the English language which restricts the vast population from enjoying the bounties that they offer, said noted author and linguist Dr Birbal Jha, while addressing a conference on Bhasha Bharat held at The Lalit Hotel here.
“In other words, localisation of the vernacular languages for the internet and mobile services opens the doors to those involved in such businesses considering that India has as little as 3% English speaking population and only 10 per cent English knowing population”, averred Dr Jha, who heads British Lingua, an institute of international repute for English communication skills.
“The beauty of India lies in multilingualism and multiculturalism that attract the world no end. India is the only country in the world where the largest number of languages (1652) is used. However, English is making its inroads into every nook and cranny of the country with economically sound family sending their children to English medium schools” added Dr Jha
“On the flip side, it stands to reason that English education is out of the reach of the vast population in the country. Given all these localisation and digitisation of Indian languages are needed and only such steps can protect their lives. Otherwise, many of the Indian languages will meet the fate of extinction in days to come” enlightened Dr Jha.
“However, the content developers for the purpose will hardly be motivated for localization as their quantum of efforts is unlikely to be remunerated on par with the professionals working in English. Such an economic de-motivation puts a spoke in the wheels of localization of services and digitisation of languages. The digitization of content in local languages will certainly boost the economy of businesses involved and life of a language.” added Dr Jha.
Giving an example of and advocating the need for digitisation of the Maithili language, Dr Jha said, “Mithila has around 40 million of people, who use Maithili as their mother tongue, which is bigger than the populace of many countries. Hence, it draws the attention of business classes for its high potentialities”