A Celebration of Language Community Work

FUEL logo The FUEL Project is one of the rare projects that emanated from India and is now associated with various language communities and organizations across the world.

The FUEL GILT Conference is an annual event started by FUEL Project in 2013 that gives an opportunity to its participants to hear experts on various topics related to language technology. This was the third FUEL GILT Conference and, like previous events, it was all about showcasing and celebrating efforts being taken by individuals, organizations, and open language communities. Topics included, but were not limited to, Globalization, Localization, Internationalization, and Translation (GILT). This is the one of largest events across the globe that concentrates on GILT technology.

For the last two years, the conference was organized in Pune, India. This time it was located in Chennai, a large and culturally vibrant city in India, like Pune. But this year, the climate was not helpful. Amidst huge rain and disaster, several times situations occurred that I felt would lead to the event being canceled. But, somehow, all finally went well. This year Mozilla, the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), and Red Hat were the main organizers of the event. Tamil Virtual Academy hosted the event and FSF Tamil Nadu supported the event.

This year, a Mozilla localization hackathon, which took place on November 21-22, was also a part of conference. This two-day hackathon was open for invitation-only members from Mozilla India and the Nepal localization community, while the first day of FUEL GILT Conference was open for all. As we know, localization is the process of making any product available for regional languages and markets. These two days were meant for reviewing, improvising, and discussing about the future activities related to localization of Mozilla projects and products.

Dr. Axel Hecht from Mozilla, Dr. Hema Murthy of IIT Madras, Dr. Hemachandran Karah of IIT Madras, and Jasjit Singh of C-DAC addressed the audience during the inaugural session of the conference.

Open and Panel discussions, which were the last part of the first day of the conference, were aimed at getting feedback from the audience. Mozilla localization drivers Peiying Mo and Arky and eminent l10n experts like G. Karunakar and myself were the panelists. Many other well-known personalities in language computing presented their talks and views during the day.

Dr. Hecht said that the increased use of Internet users in India is an important matter for Mozilla, its mission, and the open web. Dr. Murthy said “still the language technologies are to be matured to be usable by all sections of the society and will need a long way to achieve that”. Singh highlighted that C-DAC has already been involved in language computing since 1988, and it is important to associate many more organizations with the project and should understand the importance of FUEL project. Dr. Hemachandran Karah also talked on “Notions of equality and the developments in Digital Humanities.”

FUEL group shot

I gave the welcome address and shared updates about the FUEL project.

“The efforts of the awesome community and help from various organizations, lead FUEL Project to be one of the biggest projects working for research and development of various linguistic resources for localization,” I told the audience.

Standardized glossary, terminologies, Style Guides, Translation Assessment Matrix, and many other tools for various Indian as well as foreign languages are the result of the effort and are available for free use by the community.

The conference also saw talks of various stalwarts like Italo Vignoli of LibreOffice project, Vikas Tara of Hamara Linux, Historian Ravikant and well-known blogger Ravi Ratlami. Language technology experts like Biraj Karmakar, Praveen A, Amandeep Singh Saini, Subhashish Panigrahi, Vithika Mishra, Pravin Satpute, Chandan Kumar, and Raju Vindane also presented on different topics.

Under the adverse climatic conditions, the continuous presence of Chandrakant Dhutadmal on the real ground of Chennai, the host city, became very critical for the event and helped FUEL to make it successful. Sibi Kanagaraj, Ani Peter, Krishna K, Chandan Kumar, Sudhir, Arun and so many people helped us to make it successful despite the many challenges. Hecht, Mo, and Arky managed two days of Mozilla Hackathon by helping, guiding and discussing various localization-related issues. All the participants wholeheartedly took part in the conference, despite the bad weather.

The FUEL community is very thankful to all our sponsors. Thanks to everybody for making the effort successful. Thank you Chennai, and thanks Indra (the rain god) 🙂

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About Rajesh Ranjan

Rajesh Ranjan is Open Source Community Manager at NeGD, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Government of India. Before joining with Govt of India, he worked as a language maintainer for Hindi at Red Hat. He is the founder the FUEL Project and associated with several open source projects. Follow him on Twitter @kajha