Have you ever accidentally (or purposefully to one of your friends) set the language on your cell phone to a foreign language you couldn’t understand? If you have, then you know how hard it was navigating back to the right screen in order to change it back to your native language. Now imagine trying to send a text message using a keyboard in this foreign language.
This is what it is like for many cell phone users in India, and in countries all over the world. “From the 600 million mobile phone users in India, only 90 million can understand English. While these 90 million can operate the mobile phone, send and receive messages, the others can only make and take calls.
It has been a challenge not only for us but also for many others world over to develop technology in mobile phones where native languages can easily be incorporated,” says Abhijit Bhatacharjee, CEO of Luna Egronomics. That is why his company developed the Panini Keypads, an app that enables users to message in their native language or who prefer their regional language over English.
It took over 3 years for Luna Egronomics to develop the app., but recently it is getting major buzz from the international technical giants. The app can be downloaded on either I-phone or Android devices, and the company is in talks to incorporate the app in even the more basic phones in order to accompany users in countries where more economical phone choices are the norm.
Marketing the app properly would be the key point in those regions, however. “We need this. But it would not be of any help if people fail to understand it. It requires similar hard work to popularise and teach the public how to use the app. It would require promotion in a way that makes sense to those who consider apps and technology as alien,” says Ajay Soni.
As technology continues to grow, what remains constant is the need for translation. In order to globalize the technological boom and allow everyone the privilege of taking advantage of what that technology can bring, the most basic need for communication will always remain vital.