Malayalam user interface for mobile platforms soon

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 17, 2014

Mobile computing platforms will now have standardised Malayalam translations of commonly used terms on mobile interface.

This is expected to ease creation of user interface elements in mobile computing platforms such as Android, Firefox OS and iPhone OS.

Different elements

International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (Icfoss) and Swatanthra Malayalam Computing are teaming up with Frequently Used Entries for Localisation (Fuel) project in the effort.

The Fuel project had attempted to create a uniform set of user interface elements in local languages for vernacular computing on desktops.

Mobile platforms have different interface elements when compared to desktop systems, said Satish Babu, Director, Icfoss.

Numerous English terms are used for different menu items and actions associated with mobile phones - for instance Bluetooth; swiping; location services; apps; tethering.

These are unique to mobiles and do not have standard terms in Malayalam, said Babu.

In this context, a multidisciplinary team of academicians; school teachers; linguists; publishers; journalists; translators; Wikipedians; and members of the free software community sat down for a brainstorming session.

Their brief was to determine Malayalam translations for about 500 English terms so that these could be used by different vendors to implement Malayalam user interfaces on mobile devices.

Standardisation of technical terms is major step towards improving the local language support in the mobile segment, said Anivar Aravind, Secretary, Swatanthra Malayalam Computing.

Unlike word-by-word translation, localisation follows the method of selecting culturally apt words based on context that conveys the meaning to the common man in a simpler form on the mobile, says colleague Hrishikesh KB.

Convenient use

Localisation of Malayalam and other Indic languages is something that directly enables the citizen to utilise technology in the most convenient way.

Another major step was release of a keyboard layout supporting 15 Indic languages.

These go to squarely address the lack of widely-accepted, uniform and consistent translations for terms used by mobile operating systems and platforms.

“This is the start of a structured set of efforts to prepare a similar translated glossary in multiple Indic languages for mobile platforms,” said Babu.

Published on March 17, 2014

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