Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools are one such boon to the translators, it makes the job at hand easier. It does so by assisting in multiple repetitive tasks so that the translator can focus on the quality of the output. CAT tools have been around since the mid 1980s
, 40 years since there have been numerous additions to its feature sets, helping translators increase their productivity. Machine translation itself has improved productivity by more than 74%
The sheer volume of existing policy related documents, articles etc, is massive, and has sensitive content. Accuracy of translation has to be upto the mark, as mistakes can cause miscommunication and lead to unwanted legal issues. Machine translation in its state today is not upto the mark to be trusted with just itself, it needs human intervention.
Apart from the massive volume of translations that needs to be done for the content that exists today, none of the websites or departments function without updating content almost on a daily basis. Translations of such volumes and managing the fluidity manually will be impossible, and previous initiatives have had to be dropped. Use of technology not just makes it possible but also identifies a lot of updated content regularly that may have been left without translations. Thus it actually grows the demand. Take for example, the US translation industry, the projected percent change in employment in the translation industry sector is set to be 20% from 2019 to 2029 according to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics
. The average growth rate for all occupations is 4%. This shows that with CAT tools and automation in fact help in growing the industry, with faster turnaround times and high quality.
By making this pool of information available in Indian languages covers availability. For a successful citizen services deployment there are other hurdles to cross.
Discoverability is one big challenge. The ability to search on websites and documents in English is taken for granted, but searching in Indian languages is nowhere near the ease of English. For starters, most of us on the Internet do not have access to standard typing methods, our workstations are designed with English as a medium of communication in mind. One has to put additional effort in order to type in their own mother tongue. Even after one does so there are inherent gaps in the Unicode standards and the implementation of rendering technologies in today’s modern computers that allows for mistakes in typing Indian languages which inherits search issues.
The average Indian citizen does not know English, and is not tech savvy to look up and search on the internet, the form factor on which the next wave of Internet users are going to come is not quite suited for easy typing as well, this calls to action to create intuitive voice bots for citizen services in Indian languages for it to be successful.
The thought behind NLTM, is one with good intentions, it aims to bridge the language divide that exists in information dissemination from the Government’s point of view. Translating government-and-policy related knowledge into major Indian languages and making it available on the internet is a welcome step, if done correctly it will have a significant impact.