In order to make Bangla one of the leading languages in the world, the Information and Communication Technology Division has launched Bangla.gov.bd, a technology platform for language technology and artificial intelligence, as well as a trial version of Dhwani, software that converts Bangla to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), inaugurated both tools at a virtual event on Friday morning.
The Bangladesh Computer Council is implementing this Enrichment of Bangla Language in ICT through Research and Development project.
The purpose of the project is to adapt Bangla to computing and ICT.
The International Phonetic Alphabet is an international phonetic transliteration system that presents all the sounds of every language of the world in one script.
According to the people concerned, Dhwani does transliterations and the software has been made available to everyone on IPA.bangla.gov.bd on an experimental basis.
The state minister said, "By 2021, we will be able to make most of the services available to the people. In line with this target, we are launching Bangla.gov.bd and a trial version of Dhwani."
Under the project, many services and resources of language-technology and artificial intelligence are being created, the state minister said, adding that: 20 public facing services, 16 research tools and resources, six types of standard and printed resources, and 10 types of corpus or datasets are notable among them.
The state minister further added that alongside all the Bangla speaking people in the world, members of minority ethnic groups and people with hearing difficulties will also benefit from this.
Palak said 18 software tools will be released, in phases, by 2023 to enrich the Bangla language to serve the general public.
On the occasion, Dr Muhammad Zafar Iqbal said these are invaluable resources for those who do research language. "Those researchers can realise the importance of all this," he added.
Professor AFM Daniul Haque, former teacher of the Bangla Department of Jahangirnagar University; Partho Pratim Dev, executive director of the Bangladesh Computer Council; and many others spoke on the occasion.
Bangla.gov.bd is being called a "language technology and artificial intelligence technology" platform.
Various services related to Bangla language that have been created through this project will be available on the platform. For now, it will be used as a product showcase and information portal. It is due to build communication between users and researchers.
IPA application Dhwani
Dhwani is a converter engine that automatically converts inputs from Bengali to the IPA. It shows how a Bangla word is pronounced in the IPA.
This application has a on-screen keyboard and embedded fonts. It also features export and copy options. Artificial intelligence technology was used to develop this software.