Monday, August 16, 2010

At last, an Indian vernacular language translation tool

This is what I have been waiting for. A tool, a software that can translate (not transliterate) English into Indian languages and vice-versa. Kudos to IIIT Hyderabad and the IITs who have collaborated, to have come up with such a tool - Indian Language Machine Translation System. Google, for example, offers to translate into English a webpage into several languages, once you get the search results. If you try this for Indian languages, all you normally get it gibberish.This is exactly what India needs to stay ahead in the global village.

I recall that a few years back, an OCR tool for Hindi and other Indian languages was developed in Kolkata, if I am right. I hope that that software too is perfected, which will allow users to scan printed vernacular documents and convert them to editable text files.

The Indian Language Machine Tranaslation System is an application, a software to be installed on a computer. You will just have to copy-paste the content from one language in one window and click a button. The translated version, along with the web pages and images will be visible in another window.

This is amazing stuff. My heartiest congratulations to all the developers.

Here is the link from where I got the news: - It's in Marathi

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Media Economics

Recently, I came across a book on Media Economics. I was, and still am fascinated by the subject and have decided to include it in our curriculum. Though change in the syllabus will take some time, I have already started discussing the subject in the classroom. Most of the posts on this blog will deal with the subject of Media Economics for some time.

Here are some facts and figures:  

Media & Entertainment, 6th June 2009

  • Indian media and entertainment industry expected to clock a growth of about 19% by 2010 compared with a growth of 17% in year 2008.
  • The turnover of India's Media and Entertainment sector expected to double to about $20 billion (Rs.100,000 crore) by 2011-12.
  • Total turnover of the sector estimated at about $10 billion (Rs.50,000 crore) in 2008-09.
  • The turnover (including both subscription and advertising revenue) of the television segment expected to reach at $10.4 billion (Rs.52,000 crore) in the next three years from the current level of about $4 billion (Rs.20,000 crore).
  • Currently, advertising contributes about 80% and subscription the remaining 20% of the revenue of television segment

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crowd Power

What do YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have in common? Crowds. That applies to all blogs and all online social media websites. If these websites don't have crowds with them, they will have to be shut down.

This is the age of crowdsourcing and crowd computing. For the time being let's not talk of TV channels, which are anyway facing problems in generating content. But the newly arriving 3G telephony is where we need to concentrate on. If 3G services are to be successful, all service providers will have to create or buy compelling content to keep their viewers hooked.

The service providers cannot be content (pun intended) and dependent on revenues generated by users browsing the internet or making phone calls. It is video that will play the most important role and it will not be surprising if 3G service providers turn to the crowds to generate their content.

The videos will have to be short, relevant and compelling, because longer videos will involve more data transfer and hence, more cost. One minute videos, one minute episodes of soap operas are bound to become popular.

No service provider would be willing to employ a large team of content producers to produce a variety of content. One, because it will involve huge costs, and two, because that would not be their core area of expertise. The best source will be crowds.

And that, in India, we have; in plenty.