Govt to spend Tk 1.59bn for more Bangla use on computers

12 February 2017

Department of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)  has taken up an extensive Tk 1.59 billion project aimed to expand use of Bangla language on computers.
The project started this February, the month when the nation's struggle to preserve mother tongue Bangla began. Bangladesh Computer Council Director Enamul Kabir is in-charge of the project. Research and recruitment of specialists is on for the project that will cover 16 sectors, he said. "The project will design software that will type automatically hearing sounds. This will facilitate those with physical disabilities," said Enamul. In keeping with the International Phonetic Association (IPA's fonts are used to turn sounds into texts), Bangla IPA fonts will be developed. This may help write dictionaries and help students and teachers (whose native language is not Bangla), linguists, singers, and speech language pathologists.
"The project starts from the scratch to expand the use of Bangla in the IT world," IT entrepreneur Mustafa Jabbar told The project will figure out different problems related to Bangla keyboard and solve them in order to make them applicable on different types of computers (like desktop, mobile), said Enamul.
Software to convert both printed and hand-written scripts/documents into Bangla texts will be developed under the project, thus enabling piles of documents and literatures at office, court and libraries to be converted into texts, the project director added.
Bangla fonts appear differently whenever the medium is changed. A 'font interoperability engine' will be developed to mould Bangla fonts for different platforms. This may smoothen document processing, e-mailing and accounting.
A 'common local data repository' will be developed for the Bangla language to help upgrade different Bangla software and translation software.
Software will be developed to ensure correct Bangla spelling and grammar. 'Bangla Machine Translator' will be developed to translate both uttered paragraphs and the written ones, thus, speeding up the translation process.
A 'Screen Reader Software' will be developed for the visually impaired and illiterate to use computers without hassle. A standardised keyboard will be designed to develop different tools for expressing sentiments and particularly for the indigenous people. The time frame for the project is three years. Mustafa Jabbar however, doubts whether such an extensive project can be completed within that time. "We will be able to assess whether Tk 1.59 billion is enough for the project or not, once the researchers and specialists are appointed," he added.
The project was approved at a meeting of Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Jan 4.

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