A desi keyboard for languages

During his time in the USA, in 2009, Prasad was alarmed by the declining use of vernacular languages in a technology-driven world.

Published: 19th November 2019 06:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2019 06:43 AM   |  A+A-

The keyboard that allows a person to type in Kannada | Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: An App which creates resumes with audio input. Keyboards for at least 11 Indian languages. These are two of the innovative solutions to bridge the language gap that came up at the Bengaluru Tech Summit.

While robotics was by and large the theme of the exhibition, innovators from the state extended their enthusiasm to language and technology with innovative solutions to real-time problems of vernacular speakers at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2019.

Addressing the need for preserving diversity in languages, Guru Prasad, Chief Innovation Officer, Ka-Naada, and his team have created keyboards for at least 11 Indian languages, including Tulu, Kannada , Telugu, and Malayalam.

During his time in the USA, in 2009, Prasad was alarmed by the declining use of vernacular languages in a technology-driven world. After extensive research with his friends, he devised a phonetic-based keyboard for Kannada, which looks very different from the ‘Remington Typewriter’-styled keyboard that are pervasive in computers today.

Giving in to massive demand from other language enthusiasts, he designed a keyboard for 10 other languages, including Sanskrit whose structure is almost the same as the rest.

He now looks for large- scale implementation of these keyboards in schools. Santhosh S S, Founder and CEO,, is trying to bridge the language gap to help non-English speakers and employers. Catering largely to the blue-collared workers, his App Dhiyo creates resumes with audio input — by converting speech to text. The application generates a resume, and verifies Aadhaar, before sending the profile of the job-seeker to a potential employer.

Rolled out just a month ago, in Bengaluru, Mandya and Tumakuru, the App has received a good response, he said. It caters to Indian English, Kannada and Hindi speakers so far, he said.

Another voice-to-text innovation,, was born in Bengaluru by collating a number of dialects. It has emerged as the top speech engine as per Samsung,  said Amar Prabhu, solutions architect at the firm.  
Amar said the developers have to take into account various hues of the languages to come up with a highly accurate engine. This high accuracy has been displayed in voice-to-text conversion in nine Indian languages, in addition to Kannada, he said.

With this engine at their disposal, companies have an automated method of  capturing complaints, and having vernacular voice assistant for various applications.

Monotonous roles like reading out the script in a call centre will be replaced, giving agents time for more competitive problems, Amar said. The company is already working with the farmers helpline portal to respond to queries on crop and fertiliser prices. Dhwani voice editor (an App developed by the company) extends the advantage of vernacular voice-to-text to the general public, he added.

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