Mangalore, Aug 9: 'Konkanverter', one of the technological initiatives World Konkani Centre embarked on two years ago, is now ready for the launch which World Konkani Centre believes will help to resolve a major conflict between different sections of Konkani Speaking community.
The software programme is an automatic script converter called 'Konkanverter' which will help people to transliterate any Konkani text from source script to a script of their choice. Konkanverter is developed by the research wing of the World Institute of Konkani Language. It is one of the path breaking projects under Vision TVM, inspired by the visionary T V Mohandas Pai.
'Konkanverter', the online, free to use, automatic script converter for Konkani Language, will be inaugurated on August 11 at 5.30 p.m. at World Konkani Centre, Mangalore. It will be launched by Dr Meena Chandawarkar, vice chancellor, Karnataka State Women’s University, Bijapur.
Ramdas Kamath U, senior vice president, Infosys Technologies will be the chief guest on the occasion. Fr Francis Rodrigues, editor, Raknno Konkani Weekly and Vinodh Rajan, expert in language technology from Chennai will be the guests of honour. President of World Konkani Centre, Basti Vaman Shenoy will preside over the function.
For many historical and socio-cultural reasons, Konkani people have been using five different scripts (Devanagari, Romi, Kannada, Malayalam and Perso-Arabic) to write in Konkani Language. Due to this konkani literature has been divided into several script groups and not intelligible in entirety to every Konkani person.
This situation has become an obstacle to a free-flow of Konkani literature from one region to another and has created a rift between script communities in some domains like teaching Konkani in school and selection for awards etc. Only a few works were transliterated manually so far, due to the painstaking and time consuming nature of the task.
Inspired by VISION TVM to bring together Konkani Speaking Community by resolving conflicts, World Konkani Centre worked on this issue through technology and embarked on the project to develop an automatic script converter a couple of years ago. Konkanverter is the result of this project.
The project team is headed by Gurudath Bantwalkar, assistant director WIKL, with Konkani Language Experts such as poet Melwyn Rodrigues, Gokuldas Prabhu, Dr. Tanaji Halarnkar, Dr Rocky Miranda, Damodar Ghanekar and technical experts such as Hariprasad Nadig of Sampada.net as advisors.
Vinodh Rajan, a language technology expert from Chennai contributed substantially in time and efforts in developing the software programme. The project has lined up development of several language technology initiatives which will help the growth of Konkani Language Content on the web, based on the concept of multi script interactivity.
Launching of 'Konkanverter' is one of the most significant events in the history of Konkani for the following reasons.
1. 'Konkanverter' will help Konkani writers reach out to a readership base almost four times larger than the present one.
2. Konkani Language knowledge base will be accessible to the people across script groups. Knowledge can flow easily between the scripts unhindered.
3. Some adapted applications of the software can be immense. It can be made functional in every Konkani Language website. It can also be used for offline purposes such as publishing. The Konkani Literature in the form of E - books with such conversion facility will benefit from its wide reach and readership.
4. Some of the original lexical and dialectical forms of Konkani might unearth to the benefits of the community as whole, which otherwise hidden in watertight compartment like situations between communities divided by the script.
5. Research scholars will benefit as they will not be handicapped because of many scripts. Presently the handicap is leading to limitations in the scope and quality of research.
6. There will be no hurdles in reading the text, enjoying and appreciating literature, enriching one's vocabulary, analyzing language, comprehending dialect variations and ultimate standardization of the Konkani language.
The 'Konkanverter' can be accessed online at www.konkanverter.com
For more information kindly contact Gurudath Bantwalkar, assistant director, World Institute of Konkani Language, World Konkani Centre, Mangalore. (9901570447)