February 3, 2017 - 11:30am
Software developers need to be language experts or need to work with Bangla language experts so that Bangla content is available on the internet and cyberspace becomes accessible to everyone in the country, said speakers at a seminar tilted “Bangla Language in Information Technology,” which was part of the 11th BASIS SoftExpo 2017 held at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre.
Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) has been organising software expositions since 2003. This year’s expo will be from February 1 till 4.
The number of local programmers who are able to create Bangla-based software is very limited. Programmers and software companies are not working hard enough to create a Bangla-based software market since tools like font, translator, text-to-speech, Optical Character Reader etc are all niche products and cannot be immediately monetised, explained the speakers.
The government is designing a project to create around 16 Bangla-based software tools. The project will cost somewhere around TK150 crore. This project will take at least two years of research and development, and the speakers urged individual developers and companies to work with the government to bring the project to fruition.
Samira Zuberi Himika, BASIS Standing Committee for Start-ups Chairperson and Managing Director of Team Engine Limited, said: “Most online content is in English and Spanish. There is only 0.01% Bangla content available on the internet. That’s how limited it is. You cannot upload content because there is no system to identify Bangla.”
“Instead of struggling on their own and dealing with a lack of funding, developers and software companies should work collaboratively to develop tools that will allow Bangla content to go online,” she added.
“Making Bangla software is a difficult task because there is such a shortage of people with the required expertise,” said SM Ashraful Islam, former executive director, Bangladesh Computer Council.
Bangladesh Computer Council Director Enamul Kabir said: “We need the government, language experts and developers to work together,” Jahangirnagar University Professor AFM Daniul Huq concurred.
“The only way to fight the challenges in this sector is for us all to work together,” said BASIS president Mustafa Jabbar, while moderating the seminar.