Designing Indian Language Solutions for the Digital World

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by Arvind Pani on Friday, March 1, 2013

Visual Arts + Design

Session type

Technical level


With the 2nd largest mobile user base, India has 16% of the global mobile phone user base. Yet, less than 0.01% of the web content are in Indian languages whereas 57% of the digital web content are in English language. 3 major issues plague the usage of mobile phones and other digital means for text based communication in Indian languages. The issues are:

1) On the consumption side: Lack of availability of good quality fonts and text rendering in various languages that would match the user experience of English language. This hinders the consumption/reading of text in several languages.

2) On interactivity side: Lack of text input keypads and predictive typing support that would make typing as simple and easy as in English. This hinders typing and user generated contents in Indian languages.

3) On Content side: Lack of access and availability of contents in Indian languages.

This session will address solutions for these issues.


The Problem: The Disconnected Billion – Over a billion people are unable to communicate on mobile devices, in their preferred language.

India with a population of 1.2B has literacy rate of 76%. Less than 10% of population is English literate. That leaves 66%+ population which is literate, but does not know English. With a mobile subscriber base of 890m, there are 500m+ literate mobile users, which are starved of local language content on their handsets. Today the mobile in their hands is just a “voice only” device for them. There is a lack of good quality fonts, accurate text rendering capability, easy typing keypads and typing aids like predictive typing & transliteration on mobile phones & other digital devices today. There is a fragmented market where few mobile handsets have some Indian language fonts available, but that too of very poor quality. There is no consistent and standard way in which Application Developers and Content providers can deliver useful contents to the consumers in local languages, irrespective of the make of mobile handset available with them. No SMS, search, social networking or useful text information, VAS services are possible for these consumers. Current solutions have poor quality, low usability and hence poor adoption.

The Solution: Including the Billion – Solution that makes consumption and interaction in local languages as easy as in English and addresses each part of the problem - Consumption, Interaction and Content Procesing.

• Text display solution that can render text in all Indian languages of the world on any mobile device. The text rendering should ensure zero errors in text display for all languages.

• Text input solution suite including keypad layouts and predictive typing in multiple languages. The text input solution should make typing in various Indian languages as easy as or faster than typing in English.

• Fonts for multiple languages that provide the best text aesthetics and readability.

• Ways of Intelligent text conversion and generation that make content availability and access easier in all Indian languages.


No specific requirement

Speaker bio

Arvind Pani is the co-founder of Reverie Language Technologies - a venture established by highly acclaimed language technologists and designers dedicated to eliminating the Indian language digital divide.

Arvind's mission is to ensure a quality of digital experience for Indian and language users equivalent to or better than what is available to English language users. Under Arvind's leadership, Reverie has innovated solutions in 32 languages comprising Indian languages, Arabic and others. These solution service the entire language value chain and comprise of fonts, text rendering and conversion solutions, Keypads with predictive text, search, transliteration and SDKs for creating local language applications. Reverie’s solutions have been adopted by Qualcomm, USAID, Micromax, Mapmyindia, amongst others and have proven to deliver very rich user experience for Indian languages.

Under Arvind's leadership, Reverie has also won several prestigious awards and recognitions including NASSCOM League of 10, Qualcomm QPrize for India, Manthan, Techsparks and Unpluggd.


  • 1

    [-] Venkatesh Hariharan 6 years ago

    I look.forward at the Goa Project. I have been.working.on Indic Computing.and. we should touch base soon.

    Venky (Venkatesh Hariharan)

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