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Issues & Challenges in Developing Multilingual Applications for Mobile: Indic Languages Perspective. Photo Courtesy: Gour Mohan , C-DAC Noida. W3C Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries December 5-6, 2006. Vijay Gugnani, Karunesh Arora , V N Shukla C-DAC Noida.
Applications for Mobile: Indic
Photo Courtesy: Gour Mohan , C-DAC Noida
W3C Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing CountriesDecember 5-6, 2006
Vijay Gugnani, Karunesh Arora , V N Shukla
“The quickest way to get out of poverty right now is to have one mobile telephone.”
- Muhammad Yunus http://www.idrc.ca/uploads/user-S/10787612051Harvard_Forum_2003_-_Summary.pdf
• Philippines - 86 million residents, over 32 million mobile subscribers
• Malaysia - 14.6 million subscribers, population of 25 million,
• India - over 1.1 billion people - mobile subscribers - over 129 million*
• Indonesia - over 29 million subscribers , population of 233 million
– More revenue generation by Service providers through Value Added Services by adapting content– Culturally & Linguistically
Source: http://www.redbusdev.com/bnry_brew/pdf/brew_2005/b602_chhajlani_webdunia.pdf , * Hindustan Times
22 constitutionally recognized Indian languages
World's fastest growing wireless services market with 129.53 million subscribers and increasing >>>
Use mobile devices mainly for communication through low-end devices
Accessing web through mobile devices has already begun
Demand for utility applications & web content
Service providers can compete by offering better applications/content instead of lowering prices.
Use of Mobile Camera, OCR & Machine Translation to provide application for common conversational phrases
Educational games :Crossword in local languages
Mobile Specific Search using LBS/GPS
TTS enabled SMS and contacts reader
Predictive Input for fast text entry, stylus
Talking Dictionaries (with pronunciation)
Applications like Map use for booking Parking space
Conversation Guides for tourists to communicate in local languages
Internationalization(i18n), depicts the practice of designing & developing an application, product or document in a way that makes it easily localizable for target audiences that vary in culture, region, or language.
i18N aims at separating Core application code from dynamic content containing Culture
specific data, such as text strings on the UI.
Following i18N in software development ensures that minimal changes are required
while modifying for different languages, writing systems, regions. In nutshell
internationalization can be seen as an architectural issue.
Localization(L10N) is the actual adaptation to meet the language, cultural & other requirements for specific target audience.
Together these two concepts makes it possible to develop a localized version of a software product.
Mobile devices industry is growing at a very fast rate, that means more demand for localization.
Localization process involves translating all text to the new language and in some cases changing some of the images or resources
Identify ‘Translatable’ and ‘Non-translatable’ strings
Many languages can take at least 30% more space, Design should be compatible, or else the UI may have to be redesigned . Tool - उपकरण (HI) & ग्राहक - customer (EN)
Designing GUI as per Size of Screen
Involve languages experts for UI design.
Switching between Language in UI
Bitmap / Vector fonts
Grammatical structure in a menu or set of check boxes
Same script different collation order
Different word order
Word wrapping, hyphenation
Avoiding use of text or numbers in graphics.
Avoiding use of metaphors which may not have equivalence in other languages
The same application functions do not necessarily apply to all cultures.
Use context while translating
Use domain dictionaries
Ligatures impacting cursor movement
Visible length of the string may be less than the storage length
Height of glyphs may vary
Styling issues such as underlining while using CSS
Word length may vary across languages
Input method :Devanagari has around 57 basic characters to use. Developer has to fit these in only 10-11 keys. That is a large number of characters onto each key, increasing the number of taps.
Icons that are a play on words do not translate
A image can say thousand words e.g.
A dust bin for dumping files or A scissor for cutting in edit operation
“B”, “I”, “U”
Some concepts have been found extremely hard to represent as an icon
E.g. Sorting (‘A->Z’ is not universal)
Images of people or body parts such as hands
Considered inappropriate in some cultures
What skin colour to use?
localized People Images for each country
Few Languages share same script e.g. Devanagari (Bodo, Dogri, Hindi, Konkani, Maithili, Marathi, Nepali, Sanskrit, Sindhi etc.)
More than one script for a language (Kashmiri, Sindhi, Santhali etc.)
Devanagari is syllabic and phonetic
Languages are shared across borders (Bengali, Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi…)
Ligatures are used which have impact on cursor movement, deletion and insertion points in text.
Both European and Devanagari digits are used
Height of the text area required is more. Even Chinese and Japanese need more height.
No concept of Small & Capital letters
The testing includes tasks such as:
Image Source : http://www3.dw-world.de/mobile_emulator/emulator.php?lang=hindi
Remove all files (सभी फाईलें हटाएँ)
Search in all files(सभी फाईलों में खोजें)
Volume : Low / Medium / High धीमा(मंद)/मध्यम/ऊँचा
Print Quality : Low / Medium / High कम/मध्यम/उच्च
Time (Clock/duration) : Time : समय
Long time लंबी अवधि