by Soumik Ghosh

How LinguaNext Breaches the Language Barrier for Digital India

Jul 13, 2015
BudgetingBusinessCloud Computing

LinguaNext breaks down the language barrier to make sure the Digital India initiative reaches every Indian. 

LinguaNext breaks down the language barrier to make sure the Digital India initiative reaches every Indian.

Top industrialists in the country have hailed PM Modi’s pet project, ‘Digital India’ as a step in the right direction–the best thing since sliced bread. Digital India has already attracted Rs 4.5 lakh crore, and has its heart in the right place. There’s one problem though. Government websites, starting from railways to state banks, are available only in English.

Bear in mind, the English-speaking population in the country is a little more than 10 percent. Reaching out to the remaining population is a challenge. That is where LinguaNext stepped in.

LinguaNext uses a platform that makes applications multi-lingual without touching the source code, the database, or having anything to do with the software application itself. “We do it at a user interface layer kind of a level, and within a month, we can make their applications available in any global language,” says Jagdish Sahasrabudhe, CEO, LinguaNext Technologies.

The Pune-based software developer firmly believes that the Digital India initiative cannot be delivered unless it is in the local language. “This is our main philosophy: You cannot have an income tax or tourism website completely in English. If it is not made multi-lingual, it is a complete waste of effort,” says Sahasrabudhe.

Internationalization of software or re-architecting the code base in simpler term takes 12 to 18 months to do so. LinguaNext’s solution adds a layer to the code base and makes the application ready for multi-lingual interface within two months. “That’s our value proposition,” says Sahasrabudhe.

Banking on Translation

LinguaNext has bagged contracts from leading financial institutions in the country including Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Syndicate Bank, and Vijaya Bank. Most of these banks work on Finnacle, the core banking software developed by Infosys; or on TCS Banks, developed by TCS for the State Bank of India.

Linguify, the software developed by LinguaNext, enables companies to overlay a language layer to their existing IT applications. This ensures that the underlying enterprise application and its data remains untouched.

The Oil Rush

One of the recent wins was developing website translation service for three of the largest oil companies in the country–The Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum. The website is the portal for consumers to connect with the companies.

These companies wanted the website to be available in 12 languages in under two months. “From a computer technology perspective, that’s a very difficult task. We delivered the product in under two months, and those products are now live,” says Sahasrabudhe.

How LinguaNext bagged SAP, Oracle; The Fujitsu Story

For SAP and Oracle, it was HR applications, manufacturing applications, CRM applications, and procurement applications. In a couple of cases, there were mobile applications as well.  

Historically, Fujitsu’s software division was a Japanese-only business, and they never ventured out of Japan. So, the software was built grounds-up only in the Japanese language. What has happened in the last couple of years is that the Japanese economy moved to a major warpath of globalization. Fujitsu’s applications will now be used in Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. This makes it necessary for the applications to be available in those languages.

“We selected the LinguaNext solution as it has a proven track record and it is a cost-effective means for us to quickly deliver our products to customers in multiple languages,” said Yoshihiro Ichihara, corporate Vice President, Fujitsu Systems.

Of Clouds, Desktops, and Reports

For companies like Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil, the solution offered is a cloud based service called In this case, nothing is deployed on the user’s PC, but the application is deployed at the server level, in the datacenter. This helps the consumer to access it from a desktop, a mobile, or a tab.

The client can either choose to deploy it from his private cloud, or LinguaNext’s public cloud, whatever suits them. Most clients that it works with are so large that they want to use it on the company’s public cloud for the first six months, and then migrate to their respective private clouds.

Another company that has recently opted for this service is Carwale, an e-commerce site for buying and selling used cars.

The other offering is on the desktop side. In a lot of cases, the application has a footprint on the desktop. In that case, the customer wants the utility to be provided on the user’s PC. So, there’s nothing on the server side. In such instances, the company uses linguify.desktop, and this happens mostly for clients like Oracle and SAP, which have a lot of client server software, and not a lot of cloud software.

Another product LinguaNext offers is a report generation service. This is used for things like passbook printing in banks, ATM slips, or a logistics report. When there is a need to print a report on what goods need to be shipped, it needs to be in the local language, as the truck driver may not understand English.

This service proves its usefulness in cases of generating pay slips, or pension slips. These can be done on Linguify.reports, generated in pdf format. This again can either be cloud, or desktop based.

The Road Ahead

The Digital India initiative takes up a lion’s share of the company’s future interests. LinguaNext is also looking at the crime branch portal, the income tax, and the provident fund portal.

In addition to this, the company has also noticed that every state now has a tourism portal, attracting tourists from Germany, Spain, etc. Now, to draw tourists, it’s imperative for these portals to be multi-lingual. For instance, the Gujarat tourism website is already available in Spanish, German, and other foreign languages to attract tourists. 

The ‘Digital India’ initiative has been welcomed with arms wide open, and with good reason. And bringing more people online with translation services is a step in the right direction.