Viewpoint Education

Why language localisation matters

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One of the smaller joys while travelling is to find a person speaking a familiar language in an unfamiliar land. It is not just a matter of familiarity, but also the connection that we all hold dear in our heart. It is why we see leading food chains honouring their products with local names. You cannot serve people better unless you ‘think global and act locally.’ Customers relate more to brands that speak their language, their dialects and associate with their local anecdotes and folklore, whether it is high-end product or a seemingly negligible service. Both can only be remembered on the basis of the value they bring to ‘me’. The same holds true for education.

India has an amazingly diverse population. Besides Sanskrit, we recognise 21 official languages and have an even bigger spectrum of dialects. Our language should not become a hurdle to understanding or learning. Unfortunately, it is.

Standardising language

Understandably, reaching a common language is important to impart knowledge. Perhaps, that is how language standardisation becomes almost a reflex action for us. But, with it, we leave behind a huge trail of students who do not connect with the standardised language. So, they have to dwell in the echo of translations, re-translations, and, often, a mistranslation. Is it an optimal way to learn? No. Language localisation is the key in this case.

However, another layer of challenge is introduced by another dynamic. Certain schools teach in regional languages, while others do so in the standardised one. This inadvertently creates a gap in academics, especially when students migrate from one place to another. How can students cope with such transitions?

Today, digitisation as well as tech-driven approaches have touched all spheres of our lives, including education. The new normal has proven the efficacy of e-learning solutions. We have seen how they not only deliver the knowledge effectively, but also personalise and thereby enhance a student’s learning curve and overall experience. This might also be the key to our localisation-standardisation challenge.

Any migrating student can seamlessly access the relevant learning material through digital means. They can clear doubts over an e-learning platform and even attend classes online in the language of their preference. This this is the beauty of digitisation. It addresses both problems. On the one hand, we can ably drive language localisation measures and on the other bring true standardisation to education. These developments will probably bring more takers of localised languages. A truly universal offering will offer a hyper-personalised approach to the same problem. This will be one of the cornerstones of the future’s tech-driven education. Language should not be a barrier to education. Instead, it must become an enabler.

The writer is CPO at Brainly

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 10:27:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/why-it-is-important-to-use-local-languages-in-education/article33413467.ece

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