Localization is the process of adapting a system to local language, culture and customs. This applies to any existing information, product or service that needs to be localized to get converted into a form that can be easily understood and used by the target audience or user(s).
Internationalization is the process of designing and developing a system which can be easily adapted into a variety of languages, cultures and customs.
Localization and Internationalization in the current context pertains to essential information and citizen centric services being provided by the Government of India through e-Governance using ICT applications. 95% of India’s population uses Indian languages for communication. It therefore becomes very important to make these services and information available in all the 22 constitutionally recognized local languages.
Given the complex nature of Indian languages and scripts, accurate representation for input, storage and display could pose challenges in the development of these applications. Internationalization and localization are comprehensive processes that cater to this need.
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of the Government of India strives to make all government services available to its citizens through the use of ICT applications. Currently the NeGP comprises of 31 mission mode projects (MMPs), which are further classified as state, central or integrated projects. Each MMP has several web based applications that are meant to directly or indirectly deliver information and/or services to the citizens, and so need to be available in the local language (official language of the state) apart from English.
In this endeavor, C-DAC GIST (Graphics and Intelligence based Script Technology) has envisaged the Localization Programme Management Framework (LPMF) to help localize applications under the MMPs. Various Localisation related services, handholding and training are being offered through the tools / services section of the portal.
Initially support is being extended to following MMPs:
- Road Transport
- Public Distribution System
Surface v/s Deeper Localisation
Localisation can be classified as Surface localisation and Deeper localisation. Surface localisation of the application can be carried out at the skin level without changing source code of the application. For example the UI of a website can be localised using surface localisers without change in orginial source.
Deeper localisation which may include having Indian language databases, Printing Bills, Records and Reports, Multi-modal interfaces, etc. will require working hand-in-hand with the system developers and system integrators of E-governance applications / MMPs.
Community participation, How can I Help?
- Improving the Translations - While doing localization, it is crucial that most commonly used terms are taken up. It is proposed to have standardized term bank creation with the help of community. Hence it is proposed to have a term suggestion / rating application invoked as web service. This will be a separate application, wherein the community can participate to improve and rate the terms, the highest rated terms will be integrated in the LPMS term bank repository. This will ensure standardization: the most commonly terms being used in any applications. Below is given the pane of a tool developed for such community participation.