Here are the questions posed by an interviewer from a respected trade magazine, ITNation. As they answer most of the questions our customers ask, we are putting them directly on the net.
Tell me more about Web publishing for Indian Languages...
The awareness and use of internet is growing by leaps and bounds in India. Yet, the majority of Indians are most comfortable in conversing and reading their own language. The popularity and circulation figures of the regional language dailies clearly indicate this.
The advertisers also know this. The message reaches deeper when presented in local languages. For the commercials on the net, English alone is not sufficient.
We have couple of solutions: Graphics based and font based - for displaying Indian language text on Web sites. The graphic solution is for precise, typeset matter along with other graphic elements; while the Font based solution (ezFonts) is for presenting a lot of text or frequently changing text.
Our two decades' experience in regional language DTP solutions in all major languages gives us the edge for this product. We were the first company to introduce fully indigenous DTP software 'Devyani' in 1986 - still in use at many Newspaper installations.
What is the market or customer profile like?
The product has come as a natural need for the regional language newspapers having their own web site. They want to put up a lot of text in Regional languages- the text needs to be easily changeable. Further, in our case, the text may be archived and searched later from that database.
Any site wishing for mass appeal (which one does not?) is a potential customer for obvious reasons. The first ones to use this would be people already having ready regional language content.
What about the demand for regional language software?
Most, if not all, of the Indian sites are yet to mature. Almost everyone starts with English, that is alright, as at present everyone using the net knows English. As the usage is widening, people who are conversant with English but more comfortable with their own languages continue to use the net. Sites have to cater to all these people. If you just check the site names, you would find that names having some indian-ness in them are more popular here.
As the Indian sites/ portals will evolve, they will require these solutions to effectively attract the Indian masses. To increase their base, this is inevitable!
In which area is there maximum demand-applications or publishing or what?
Totally regional language based applications are few and will remain so for some time. The net is expanding at a much faster pace: simply because it presents information on a wide variety of topics, while an application (software program) caters to much smaller audience. Thus, the web publishing needs would be far greater than the applications.
The technologies involved are nothing new - just the extension of existing DTP and Web site creation tools. The specially prepared fonts are kept on individual web sites, ready to be automatically used by all types of browsers (without the users actually having to download and install them) - while the HTML pages are prepared by the site builders in the usual way - and just use these fonts.
Font standards don't come much into this picture as the users are just supposed to view the information and not manipulate it. Just as the readers of a magazine or a newspaper are not affected by the software used to create it, the viewers will not be affected by font standards. As far as the creators of the web sites are concerned, today practically every font format has been opened up - it is a matter of running a conversion program, if required.
Is this driving Net penetration? PC sales?
Certainly not at present. But it is supposed to widen the viewer base once the common guy on the road knows that information in his language is presented on the net!
Similarly, it is difficult to estimate the number of buyers of PCs just because it has regional language available on it.
What about competition? How has it grown? Are there going to be more number of players in this area? Has it spawned a new industry?
It is likely that all the current DTP vendors only will be active in this area: just because they have the technology and more likely because they will already have a set of fonts ready to be ported to the new format.
The requirements for the net are however different- a site has to choose a vendor with better fonts, not the one with many similar ones. The download criteria needs a careful choice.
How do you think the govt can help in promoting indigenisation of IT by removing all controls on entry of ISPs?
Entry of more ISPs will help spread the use of internet without doubt, but that is not necessary for promoting indigenisation. The government can help Indian IT by reducing the piracy, making people aware of the requirement to BUY software; and by becoming more transparent in its own business by presenting the information for the common man: obviously in regional languages!
How do you think the market is expected to grow? What, in your opinion, is going to drive this market? What about the Internet editions in regional language like Rediff has. Is it going to drive the demand for regional language software?
The market is expected to grow exponentially. The need to make the ads reach till the downmost layer of the society will drive this market. The use of regional language software by portals is at present precisely for this. Let us all hope that educational and research institutes come forward and put up the wealth of materials they have on the net, in the most appropriate languages. Let us see some real e-governance happening using the regional languages.
Graphic Font Samples:
Web Font Samples:
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