National mission on natural language translation soon

Students of Dr. J. C. Kumarappa Matric Higher Secondary School, Peravurani, in Thanjavur district, writing letters to their parents as part of a voter awareness initiative on Thursday. HANDOUT  

The Ministry of Electronics and IT will soon place before the Union Cabinet a ₹450 crore proposal for Natural Language Translation — one of the key missions identified by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

The proposal is part of the 100-day action plan charted out by MeitY, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instructions.

The national mission on natural language translation aims to make science and technology accessible to all by facilitating access to teaching and researching material bilingually — in English and in one’s native Indian language. To achieve this, the government plans to leverage a combination of machine translation and human translation.

“We will be looking at speech-to-speech machine translation as well as text-to-text machine translation for this. Additionally, human translation will be used,” a senior government official told The Hindu.

The official said the Ministry had proposed an outlay of ₹450 crore for the mission over the next three-year period.

The official said that to overcome the language barrier, the government planned to set up an ecosystem which involved the Central and State agencies and start-ups. “Start-ups can help expedite the work to build implementable solutions to help make research,” he said.

Translation activities can also help generate employment for educated unemployed, he pointed out, adding that the mission would help not just students but also teachers, authors, publishers, translation software developers and general readers.

National mission on natural language translation soon

The IT ministry is the lead agency for implentation of the mission along with the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Department of Science and Technology. The PM-STIAC is an overarching body that identifies challenges in certain areas of science and technology. It then creates a road map to deal with these challenges and presents the recommendations to the Prime Minister.

Besides natural language translation, other missions identified by the body includes Quantum Frontier, Artificial Intelligence, National Bio-diversity mission, electric vehicles, BioScience for Human Health and deep ocean exploration.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 2:03:09 AM |

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