Bol – Love Your Bhasha: Key Highlights of the Event
‘Bol – Love Your Bhasha’ has been launched to help Indian languages gain the same prominence on the web as English.
Bol – Love Your Bhasha' – an initiative of Quint Hindi and Google India to help Indian languages gain the same prominence and popularity on the internet as English, was held on Tuesday, 18 September.
According to stats, nine out of ten internet users in India, over the next five years, are likely to be Indian language users.
The day-long event brought together the brightest minds in business, media and publishing, to talk about the explosion of Indian languages online.
The speakers, which included Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, spoke on the need for an inclusive digital space, using Indian languages for business and democratising the internet through tech policy.
Here are some of the key highlights of the event.
'Need for Digital Inclusivity’
Speaking on ‘digital inequality’, Arvind Pani, Co-founder and CEO of Reverie Language Technologies, spoke about how despite his schooling in Kendriya Vidyalaya, he lost touch with Hindi after school and English took over as his primary language of communication.
“If I had to deliver this talk in Hindi, then I don’t know if I would have been able to,” he said.
Pani also said the revolutions in the telecom and media industries – the most booming in India – have included Indian languages.
‘Digital Democracies Via Indian Languages’
Amid a panel discussion on democratising India’s internet through changing tech policies, the panelists agreed on one fact – that a business would be more profitable if it made its reach multilingual.
Building a business or app in India in an Indian language won’t gather the kind of attention it would get if the same business or app was built in English. This needs to change, the panelists said.
There is a need for the data in India to be controlled by the Indian people and be made available in Indian languages, one of the panelists, Ankush Sachdeva, Co-founder and CEO of ShareChat said.
“Today, you ask anybody about how many alphabets there are in the English language, and they will say 26. But if you ask the same person how many alphabets are there in Hindi or other Indian languages – that need to be represented on a mobile phone or digital screen – you will get inconsistent answers,” says Arvind Pani.
‘Video Has the Ability of Being Language-Agnostic’
In a fireside chat with Google India Vice President, Rajan Anandan, Raghav Bahl, Founder of Quintillion spoke about how to democratise the internet in a country as multilingual as India.
One way to do that, Anandan says, is through the platform of online video as the platform is language-agnostic in itself. This helps solve one of the most serious challenges in content creation in different languages.
People’s ability to understand spoken words, instead of reading complex words, is yet another benefit that video offers.
‘English Speakers Microscopic Minority in India’
Speaking at the event, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stressed on the importance of regional languages and called the English speakers and English news consumers in the country a “microscopic minority in India”.
Further talking about PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ policy, he said that if India can make satellites, why can’t it manufacture mobile phones?
How to Make Indian Languages More Profitable?
In a panel discussion on how to make Indian languages more profitable, the panelists spoke about how Hindi and other regional language-speaking mediums and businesses don’t take themselves seriously.
They opined that in terms of brands, campaigns and technology, Hindi and other Indian languages can do so much more, but they need to put in more effort.
The largest advertisers have English websites. Local language advertisers themselves feel that their experience for the user is broken, unless it is in English. Advertisers need to have more faith in the local inventory, they said.
Advertisers need to get on board with the Indian language content, because language is premium, the panelists concurred.
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