C20 working group successfully organized a policy dialogue on Multilingual Internet on 25th April 2023 in virtual mode. The session had distinguished chief guests like Ms. Amrita Choudhury, Director of CCAOI & Member of UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) MAG; Mr. Mahesh Kulkarni, Founder CTO Evaries System & Member, Multilingual Internet & Universal Acceptance Committee, Government of India and Mr. Sathish Babu, Member of At-Large Advisory Committee, ICANN & Chair, Asia – Pacific School on Internet Governance. The session was moderated by Dr. Prashanth Nair, Vice–Chairman, IQAC, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
The session began with a sacred prayer song and a briefing of the C20 working group by Dr. Prashanth Nair. After the welcome address by the moderator, Ms. Amrita Choudhury shared her view importance of the Internet and how significant the Internet has become with the evolution of technology. Her statistical references show that only 20% of the world’s population understands English, which was thought-provoking. Thus, she emphasized involving more regional languages after understanding the needs of remote people to use the Internet.
Mr. Mahesh Kulkarni highlighted 3 criteria for developing multilingual websites – technical infrastructure, financial support from the government, and societal acceptance for execution. He also suggested solutions to achieve these 3 needs, such as adopting Unicode, framing IT policies and dialogues for security purposes, utilizing available government schemes to manage financial constraints, and receiving content analysis through surveys with the public. Finally, he voiced out the real challenges in adopting multilingual websites.
Mr. Sathish Babu followed him to share some essential tools that help achieve multilingual websites. The highlighted tools like input tools like Browsers and DNS, OCR, and Keyboard design; translation tools like dictionaries, Thesauri, and collation orders; AI tools like Chat GPT; Speech tools like subtitling tools, Natural language processing tools; Miscellaneous tools like transliteration tools, spelling and grammar checks.
The panelists identified that content readiness is the highest need to develop multilingual websites. The global issue of knowing the defined set of languages to access the internet shall be changed through education from childhood and broad awareness of different regional languages.