Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government’s massive promise to translate college textbooks might come true sooner than expected, as the Higher and Technical Education Department has decided to take the aid of IIT Bombay’s Project Udaan, a machine translation and post-editing tool, that has embarked on a journey of translating English course material into 11 native Indian languages.
An initiative for students to learn professional courses in Marathi
The tool is to be utilised by universities in the state to ensure that all students have access to academic literature irrespective of what languages they can read. “Project Udaan can be used to translate textbooks for any traditional or professional course in Marathi. Universities in the state will be required to set up their own translators team which would be trained by the professionals from IIT Bombay,” said Vikas Rastogi, Secretary of the Higher and Technical Education Department.
As per the statement released by IIT Bombay, Project Udaan can rapidly turn technical works into publishable works and can be especially helpful in universities that run low on resources.
Project launched 8 years ago
The project kick-started 8 years ago on September 14, Hindi Divas, to create an ecosystem where students can focus on the concepts without being threatened by the language they’re presented in.
“Project Udaan aims to create a level playing field for students that hail from all backgrounds, we don’t want them to miss out on any opportunities just because of a language. We have several students who are still not able to think in English. As a result, their learning journey becomes more difficult,” said Prof. Ganesh Ramakrishnan, the IITB professor leading this initiative.
IIT has students helping peers learning complex English terminologies in native languages
The IIT itself saw several takers for its language help sessions this year, where students guide their peers with the English terminologies found in technical subjects like Chemistry.
“Now that IITs have a larger intake, we have started seeing more peers coming in from the rural sides of India. This year, we floated a survey that asked students whether they’d like to have certain subjects explained in Hindi. It was only our first voyage, we received fifty to sixty responses!,” said Aryan Gupta, a student who taught his peers inorganic chemistry in Hindi.
The Udaan initiative alongside the government’s textbook translation drive has been extended as a voluntary aid and has not been mandated in any institutes so far.