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Creating Language Equity On The Internet

Monday, December 04, 2017

Arvind is on a mission to bridge the digital divide between local languages and English by ushering language equality through a stellar language experience. With this goal in mind, he has led Reverie to a market and thought leadership position in language technologies. A graduate from NIT Rourkela, India, Arvind had rewarding stints with Intel, L&T John Deere, and Steel Authority of India Ltd. before he started Reverie to pursue his dream of bringing local language Internet to the masses. In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Arvind says, “Digital literacy is a key factor in accommodating the influx of Indian language users and ensuring that they have access to content and services in their own language.”

Tell us a few words about Reverie Language Technologies and its vision?
Reverie was founded in 2009 by Vivekananda Pani, S.K Mohanty and me. Our vision is to promote Language Equality On The Internet™. We work with OEM & chipset manufacturers, enterprise companies, and the developer community. Reverie serves the consumer Internet space (online retail, e-commerce marketplaces, travel, media, and  entertainment), banks and financial service providers, and e-governance providers, across millions of devices.

Reverie’s Language-as-a-Service (LaaS) cloud platform provides localisation services such as local language translation, transliteration, Indic language input via keypads, and Indic language search, through a set of APIs. The platform integrates with business infrastructure (websites and apps) to enable end users to consume digital content in their own language, in real-time.

Reverie’s solutions enable companies to step beyond the 10% of India that is proficient in English.  Reverie derives its strength from India’s vast user demographic – 90% of India’s 1.3 billion people are more comfortable using their own language, and Reverie provides solutions to empower them.

How will digital literacy in Indic language help?
Despite popular misconception, most of India’s population, an overwhelming majority of 90% of the country, has minimal proficiency in English. Most companies however, focus exclusively on the other 10%.

According to a Google-KPMG report, nine out of ten new Internet users will be Indian language users. However, bringing these users online isn’t enough. They need to be taught how to use the internet in their own language, from input, to search, to creating content. Digital literacy is a key factor in accommodating this influx of Indian language users and ensuring that they have access to content and services in their own language.

By teaching 90% of India’s population how to use their language on devices, you empower Indic language users to take full advantage of what the internet has to offer, creating a multiplier effect where content, engagement, and ultimately growth, thrive.

In addition, according to The Digital Indian Language Report we have released, minority languages like Dogri, Bodo, Santhali, etc lack adequate digital support. By providing the tools to change that (for example, with our Indic keypad app, Swalekh), we allow their speakers to use these languages online and give them a new lease of life.

How is Reverie different from others?
Instead of just focusing on one or two language user pain points, Reverie provides comprehensive LaaS (language-as-a-service) solutions that address various issues across the board. Our experience working on various localisation projects means that we have in-house expertise on how to implement and build localisation at all steps of the development cycle, as well as scale solutions based on specific requirements.

Reverie operates on multiple verticals, including enterprise, OEM, and government, each with different approaches and goals, but with one unifying vision statement - language equality for all Indians

Where do you see yourself five years hence?
We see ourselves as the nation’s primary solution builder for localisation and language services, with a comprehensive language stack that handles the various steps of the process. Reverie’s scaled; comprehensive services could power hundreds of millions of localised user experiences across the country, in multiple languages.

Our experience and expertise in building and scaling language solutions could also make us a valuable advisory partner for the government, in its pursuit of Digital India and language equality. Together, we will be able to focus on making localisation a more essential part of the Indian Internet, from both a regulatory side and a tech side.

By being an active player in developing and executing government initiatives, Reverie could play a decisive role in initiatives like promoting digital literacy, financial inclusion, and online education.

From building solutions, we could move on to occupying a thought leadership position in the space.

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