On Hindi Divas, Garuda Prakashan announces publishing partnership with IIT-Bombay project for Indian language translation of engineering books

The translation project stands impressively at the crossroads of education, tech and culture

Mumbai: Joining forces with the premier Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay for an Indian-language end-to-end translation ecosystem, Garuda Prakashan is playing an important role of a publishing partner for Project Udaan. Project Udaan is a high-fidelity machine-assisted translation ecosystem for technical books, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) frameworks developed by a team lead by Prof. Ganesh Ramakrishnan at the IIT Bombay’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). The Project Udaan will enable a new generation of learners to study engineering in their mother tongues. The translation project comes into being from September 14, celebrated as Hindi Divas pan-India.

 

The virtual discussion on Project Udaan features key dignitaries and advocates for technology in Indian languages: Prof. Ganesh Ramakrishnan, Institute Chair Professor, Dept of Computer Science and Engineering, and Professor-in-Charge, Koita Centre for Digital Health, IIT Bombay; Padma Shri Prof. H C Verma, Indian physicist; and Sankrant Sanu, author and founder, Garuda Prakashan.

 

Using this AI-based translation engine developed by some of India’s finest technical and linguistic minds, a technical book can be translated in one-sixth the time it would take for a team consisting of domain and linguistic experts working manually.

 

In India, of over a crore students appearing in class 10th and 12th exams across Boards, more than 65% study in non-English medium schools. Upon joining higher education institutes, like in the medical and engineering field, where the primary language of instruction is English, they face language barriers. This is only compounded by a lack of textbooks and other educational resources in native languages.

 

Prof. H C Verma says: “I congratulate IIT-Bombay for their commendable initiative to translate technical books in Indian languages, which has the potential to unlock the intelligence and creativity among the young minds. For the lack of material in their own mother tongue, young students face an uphill task at higher levels as English becomes a barrier, rather than being an enabler. I have always believed that a teacher and a student must fall in love with the subject to be able to learn it. Making the material available to the young minds in their mother tongue will be a very effective step towards developing this emotional bond with the subject. I congratulate Garuda Prakashan for choosing to be a part of an initiative, which has the potential to make education more democratic, linguistically speaking.

 

Speaking about ‘Project Udaan,’ Prof. Ganesh Ramakrishnan, says, “Our approach to machine translation has been that it will be aided by human effort and appropriate use of several past AI technologies that are listed at https://www.udaanproject.org/. We embarked upon human-in-the-loop machine translation 7 years back by building lexicons of various technical domains. We are therefore able to use the appropriate scientific and technical terms available in Indian languages instead of transliterating the English terms. We are happy to state that by deploying our AI based Translation Engine, we are now able to translate a technical book in less than one-sixth the time it would take for a team consisting of domain and linguistic experts working manually. In due course, as our AI and ML engine learns with every page and every book being edited in each domain, we expect to achieve a much shorter turnaround time to produce publication quality output.”

 

Sankrant Sanu, Founder of Garuda Prakashan and author of the influential book “The English Medium Myth” says: “Even in premier institutes like IITs, I find that students are struggling due to not having access to education in their own language. Prof Ganesh’s project at IIT Bombay is a major step in enabling a technology infrastructure for rapid, high-quality translations. Garuda Prakashan is honored to be one of the first publishing partners for Project Udaan. Partnering with the technology developed at IIT Bombay will give it wings.”

 

The new translation project is in line with the vision of the new National Education Policy (NEP) which envisages universities and colleges offering higher education in Hindi and other Indian languages. The Prime Minister has also urged the IITs and NIITs to teach the students in Indian languages. He has further asked the academicians to ensure that all contemporary scientific texts and journals are quickly made available in Indian languages.

 

It will aid the ongoing initiative for undergraduate engineering programs taught in regional languages at 14 engineering colleges across eight states from this year. Project Udaan has the aim to translate about 500 engineering curriculum texts in Hindi as the first milestone, expanding the reach to 15 Indian languages subsequently, with the availability of appropriate financial support for the undertaking.

 

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