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Where classical language meets latest technology

Karthik Madhavan

Coimbatore: World Tamil Internet Conference will be the platform where one of the oldest languages meets modern computing power.

The ninth edition of the Conference is being held in Coimbatore from June 24 as part of the World Classical Tamil Conference. In 16 technical sessions it will see 120 experts present as many papers on ‘Tamil and e-learning', ‘Tamil and web applications', ‘Tamil mobile computing', ‘e-governance', among others.

At the end of the session, delegates will pass resolutions for further course of action.

Chairman, Organising Committee, Internet Conference, M. Anandakrishnan says language experts and technical people are looking for some headway in the following four areas:

The first is on creating a consensus on norms and standards in Tamil internet applications like database, translation software, coding, optical character recognition, etc.

There has been no standard so far, he says and adds that Conference's deliberations can either provide an approach to standardise the norms and rules or provide the standards and norms itself.

The second is providing students and members of public with tools and techniques to use computers in Tamil. If in someway people are able to use computers in Tamil, without having to rely on English, it will help quite a lot of people, especially villagers.

This means using internet, e-mail, accessing online newspapers, etc. in Tamil.

The third is creating a structure or framework that will monitor the progress made in these areas as the follow-up action cannot be left to an individual.

There has to be a monitoring mechanism as it is an on-going process.

The fourth and final outcome expected of the Conference is a platform for Tamil experts and computer engineers to engage in constant interaction.

As of now each is an island and one doesn't understand and recognise the other. Tamil software developers do not understand that well the nuances of the language and language experts are at a loss to leverage the power of computers.

Mr. Anandakrishnan says the Conference will touch upon translation services in English and Tamil. Lot more works need to be done, as software available at present is “only 50 per cent” efficient. What is missing is contextual representation – meaning, contextual meanings of words and sentences – in translation, which the delegates will hopefully touch upon.

Member, Ninth World Tamil Internet Conference, M. Anto Peter, says leading players in cyber world – Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Network, among others – will be present along side HCL, Department of Information Technology, Tamil Nadu Government and others at the exhibition.

There will be 126 stalls where the latest in software, Tamil in internet, Tamil mobile computing, translation service etc. will be showcased to the public.

“The exhibition will offer infotainment to each member of a family – from kids to the elders,” Mr. Peter says.

Google is expected to park a bus highlighting the power of the web.

By the time one gets out of the bus, he or she will have a basic understanding of the virtual world, he says. As part of the exhibition, a few organisations will distribute compact disks containing free wares. And, to assist people visiting the exhibition a team of 30 volunteers from Tamil Virtual University will be present.

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