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

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.

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Report from FUEL GILT Conference 2014

In November, Red Hat and C-DAC GIST organized a two-day conference, which Mozilla helped support, called the FUEL GILT Conference 2014. The event focused on GILT (Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, and Translation) technologies and was held at YASHADA Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration, the Administrative Training Institute of the Government of Maharashtra, India, in Pune. The annual event was first held last year, and approximately 100 people attended the 2014 conference.

FUEL GILT Conference is the largest FOSS localization industry conference, and the FUEL Project is the largest repository of standard linguistic resources in the field of free and open source software. FUEL stands for "frequently used entries for localization", and the FUEL project community works to create standard linguistic and technical resources, such as standardized terminology, translation style and convention guides, Unicode Text Rendering Reference Standard (UTRRS), Translation Assessment Matrix, and more.

FUEL also has started creating modules of terminology for domains other than information and communication technology, including education and health care. In fact, two new FUEL terminology modules, fuel-cloud and fuel-agriculture, were reviewed and released at this year’s conference.

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Breaking Down Language Barriers in Open Source

According to the Bible, there was a time when all people on earth spoke one language, and people began building the Tower of Babel to reach the heavens, which was in open defiance of God’s wishes. To stop these efforts, God made everybody speak different languages so that no one could understand each other. Because of the new language barrier, work on the tower halted and it remained unfinished. As with the Tower of Babel, language differences can be a barrier in technology, as almost 95% of people in the world are non-native English speakers.

Two approaches to tackling the challenge of language barriers preventing knowledge decentralization are to force everybody to learn the same language, or change the technology to support different languages. In the world of free and open source, Fedora, GNOME, KDE, LibreOffice, and Mozilla are a few of the many projects working toward supporting different languages. A variety of projects are helping to create information- and communication-related tools and technologies in languages that diverse communities of users can understand. Almost all major open source projects are working with more than 100 languages. Thousands of volunteers around the world contribute to localization projects to help break down communication barriers.

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