by December 5, 2007 0 comments

Another futuristic and ambitious project by IIIT Hyderabad comes from the
Language Technologies Research Centre (LTRC). While language processing dissects
the minute nuances of language structure, and attempts to make the machine as
intelligent or more than what a human being is able to comprehend and convert
it, LTRC takes it a step further. It finds applications to use both visual and
spoken language for practical use, especially in a rural environment. “Our
vision is to develop the world’s best text-to-speech interface for Indian
languages. While everyone is focusing their attention on speech recognition, our
endeavor is to integrate speech and text interchangeably for Indian languages”,
explained Kishore Prahlad, Head of the LTRC Speech lab. The first step towards
this vision is currently available in the form of a demo at http://speech. /~speech/demos.html. The first tool here is a demo of a speech
application that allows you to type in Hindi or Telugu words, phrases and
sentences (using English alphabets) to get a real time output of the same in
Hindi or Telugu font respectively. On selecting the ‘synthesize’ option, a WAV
sound file ‘speaks’ out the sentence you have typed. The second demo is that of
a Language Transliteration Tool, which
allows you to type a sentence in English and view the same in any one of the
other nine language scripts (Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, Assamese,
Kannada, Marathi and Sanskrit).

Above is the screenshot of the
software developed at LTRC

LTRC students foresee a socio economic usage of these applications. An ideal
example would be a scenario where villages and local governments can be
forewarned about a natural calamity with the devastation rate of something like
the Tsunami in their own regional languages. Before embarking into other
languages, the students plan to make a stable language system in Telugu and
practice for a while on their home ground.

Rajeev Sangal
Professor, IIIT Hyderabad

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