"Learn technology in your language", article published in Hindustan Times on 26 Jan 2010

Jan. 26, 2010, 1:25 a.m.

On Republic Day, the country’s digital divide is set to be bridged.

Spoken Tutorials, a technology that explains software applications in your mother tongue, will be launched on Tuesday by the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.

Nowadays, software applications find use in everyday living. For example, to book a train ticket online one can log on to www.spoken-tutorial.org and get a demonstration on steps to book an e-ticket with a commentary in a language of their choice.

Over 90 per cent of the country missed out on the revolution in information technology because they lack fluency in English. The technology developed by IIT-B will now allow non-English speakers to negotiate the information highway.

The technology will soon be introduced in educational institutions across the country by the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), an initiative of the human resource development ministry.

“The technology is easy to use and has the potential to bring IT to even those who don’t know English. We will visit schools and colleges to spread awareness about the uses of this technology. We will also hire marketing agencies to popularise the technology,” said Prof. Kannan Moudgalya, who developed Spoken Tutorials and is a member of the standing committee of NMEICT.

The open source technology will be accessible to all for free and users can upload demonstrations after they have been through a quality check. For example, if a user wants to know how to check the weather in a certain language, he can put up a request and another user, who knows the language, can create the demonstration.

The website currently has demonstrations in 15 languages and can be expanded to every computer-based activity. The basic technology, called screen cast, is used across the world but IIT-B has customised it for the Indian audience. The project began in June 2009.