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Meet Mr. Jagdeep Dangi
Bridging the gap between English and other Indic languages.
Mr. Jagadish DangiMr. Jagdeep Dangi hails from a village in Madhya Pradesh. Coming from a background of agriculture it is interesting to know his interests in computers and Interesting journey in bridging the language barriers and digital divides.
Could you give our readers an insight into yourself? What brought about a passion for computers coming from a humble background?
JD: I hail from a small town in Vidisha district in Madhya Pradesh. With a Hindi Medium schooling background, I was fortunate enough to get through the merit list and secure a seat in S.A.T.I, Vidisha where I completed my graduation in Computer Science. My family has for long been into agriculture and my sudden interest in technology and computers came due to my physical restrictions. I contracted polio and due to negligent and improper treatment I lost my leg and my left eye. If not for the love and support from my family, I would not have made it to so far. After graduation, over a period of 4 years I worked on my Hindi Language Project ‘’Bhasha Setu’’. It is a multilingual project and hopefully will hit it big in the software arena of India. The project was an initiative to spread computer usage in rural India by letting people use local languages.

This project encompasses the following:
a.) Hindi Internet Browser with click for Hindi Translation.
b.) Dictionary cum thesaurus (English to Hindi and vice-versa) :: Shabdakosh
c.) Global Word Translator (English to Hindi) :: Anuvaadak
What was the motive in taking up the translation of English web pages to Hindi?
JD: Today everything of importance can be found on the Internet such as News, E-mails, Magazines, E-zines, Exam results, Literature, etc. but mainly in the English language. In India most people are not familiar with English. Hence even with the presence of a computer they cannot use the Internet. This translation helps people in getting all the information they are looking for in the desired language.
From the son of a farmer to an established Software Engineer working for the cause of Indic computing, it must have been a very eventful journey. Please tell us more about your inspirations and the interest in computers.
JD: When I joined college for graduation, I found it extremely difficult to understand my lecturers and interact with my peers as I was not comfortable with the language. This inspired me to develop the Hindi Language software. I have found that by developing this software, I have been able to help all those living in the rural areas to access information easily. The problem was only with the language and not with technology.
How did work on the Hindi Internet Browser come about? What were the nuances you faced in handling such a venture?
JD: From my graduation computers have been sole and constant companions. Being the sole technology oriented person from my family IT magazines and related CDs were the sole source of information and past time. Along with every magazine in my hand I had to have a dictionary to get anywhere in understanding the topic. This soon turned out to be very cumbersome and time consuming. This gave birth to the idea of a browser with a Hindi interface. Having the capability to translate English words on a website within the browser will definitely not only ease the end user, he is saved from having to make linguistic discoveries on the dictionary every time he is stuck on a meaning or pronunciation. I figured I would be hitting a revolution in terms of Indic computing and so started working on the I-Browser++ - the Hindi browser.

Difficulties were many. As I have said earlier there was no one at home whom I could seek any help from. My work station being in a remote locality I had to make do with the lack of libraries and books which had to be brought down from Bhopal. Coupled with this were the electricity problems and other Internet access issues due to bad telephonic connectivity. With all this it took me good 4 years to develop I-Browser++, replete with all the functions of IE but in Devanagiri script. In addition, it also has some extra functions such as opening multiple files (Same or Separate Windows ), saving files, searching files and has slides, auto history viewers, pop-up blocking, built-in digital dictionary, Edit mode on off, My Search engine, Connect to net, Open folder, Find on control, English to Hindi translators, Text highlight facilities with various features and Unicode based Hindi writing facilities, By using this feature the user can search Unicode Hindi matters from web search engines and can even write emails in Hindi and send it via any popular mail client like yahoo! Hotmail etc through this software. One of the key functionality's of the I-Browser++ is the word translator. All that the user has to do is to click on any English word online or offline and it would instantly translate the same in Hindi along with the correct pronunciation. The i-Browser++ has a highlight function by which the user can highlight the text he wants in explorer while surfing on the net. The I-Browser++ (Hindi Explorer) contains a permanent translation feature through which a user can choose words he wishes to translate and the software will permanently translate it and even make it appear highlighted. The i-Browser++ (Hindi Explorer) also offers two types of translators- one is Local and the other is a Global Word Translator that is compatible with all Windows applications online or offline. The built-in digital dictionary of i-Browser++ (Hindi Explorer) contains more than 38,500 words, with the capability to let the end user to add as many words as he works along. This software is primarily for Hindi speaking people, however, this software can be developed into any other regional Languages in time to come.
A Hindi-English dictionary with over 36000 words! Did this project start along with the Hindi Browser? Or did you realize a need for one later on?
JD: When I started to develop Hindi Explorer I wrote a function to aid English to Hindi word translation but then I had a difficulty in providing Hindi to English word translation. So I thought of making a dictionary with a built-in thesaurus functionality which has Hindi to English and vise-versa word translation. This is how Shabdakosh was born. The Dictionary is a duplex and very powerful tool for learning English and finding meanings in either English or Hindi. The Dictionary is also equipped with the synonyms of various words making it a powerful thesaurus. It can also provide the correct and variable pronunciations of a word. The Dictionary now contains more than 38,500 words and the user can add as many words as he deems necessary. A word in the Dictionary can be searched through many filters like the suffix, prefix, middle word, letters in word etc. The Dictionary also contains idioms and phrases to make it a full-fledged commercial application. The best thing about this dictionary is that it can be used offline.
What do you think is the relevance of regional language computing and translation today?
JD: In India, computers that demand English as a working language leave hundreds and millions of potential users in the sidelines. However, these people who prefer languages like Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil need to take advantage of the IT revolution. Now-a-days in India most people are attracted towards computer education or to its use. The interest being mainly on the internet because it provides all kinds of information required by a user. People who don’t know English well or are just partially familiar with it and who want to learn about computers are hesitant to go in for a computer education or its use because they can’t cope up with the English language. At this point regional language computing and translation is necessary. I feel that without regional language computing the barrier of language will not break the regional language computing is also useful for those rural people who want to work in their own language.
Tell us about your Global Word Translation tool Anuvaadak. What are its plus points compared to other translation tools?
JD: Anuvaadak is a very powerful translating tool. First, it does not explicitly require an internet connection and can translate any word online or offline with just a click of a mouse. To use this feature the user just has to click on the English word and the software will instantly give its meaning, pronunciation and synonyms. The most important feature of this software is that it is not application dependent and it can be used in conjunction with other application running on the windows platform, and hence the name ‘Global’. It resides in the memory as a ghost application, and while using another application, if you find a word for which you need the dictionary, you click on it and at once get its meaning on the top of the screen. This uses Shabdakosh as its back end.
Any help taken by you in this 4 year long project? What were the difficulties you had to overcome to complete this project?
JD: My first and foremost difficulty if I can call it was my rural station. I wanted to bridge languages. I started by reading many text books and magazines and used the internet to learn programming languages. Then it was just me and my system to turn my ideas into code. As I already mentioned lack of libraries, the not so trusty Electric and telephone or Internet accesses etc. were setbacks because my town does not have the facilities of a big city. Whenever I need books, CDs or Floppies etc. we had to run down to Bhopal and without my brothers I don’t know how I would have managed. My family and friends have been a constant support and am ever thankful for their faith they had in me.
Do give us an insight into your views about the BhashaIndia portal.
JD: From the point of Regional language computing in India, BhashaIndia is one of the best projects of Microsoft. It is really a great forum for Hindi as well as other Indian regional languages in the field of technology. I think BhashaIndia is doing a great job for promoting our Indian languages all over the world. I take this opportunity to personally thank and congratulate all those people involved in this amazing project.
With one regional language software under the belt can we expect any in other Indic Languages as well?
JD: Yes the project ‘’Bhasha Setu’ is just to open the door to streaming other languages into the cult. The overall aim is to unite all Indic Languages onto a common platform.
How much of your vision have you achieved as of this day and how long is the road ahead of you now?
JD: Mostly for Hindi Language I would say I have completed it. I am trying to find a suitable platform for its launch. I have recently demonstrated my work to the Ministry of Information and Technology which has offered to promote the demo version. I am now working on a full release version for the last year, and I dare say my project.

My intention is to ensure to some extent that the rural people of our country also be benefited from the Digital Revolution in the world in which India is playing a leading role.

Currently I am working on a full page translation program under ’Bhasha Setu’. Logic as a prerogative is of no problem but grammar is the problem. I hope to complete this endeavor soon. My plan is to further develop this software into other regional languages as well.

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