Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Save Kannada

So in an effort to back-track through my posts and try to insert more contextual/credit information, I found that the Kannada newspaper article had been linked to by this site, savekannada.googlepages.com. Me having type on the brain, the first thing I noticed was that the Kannada font used on the site was incredibly legible, as opposed to most Indian-language websites I've browsed. I'm thinking "The creators really understand how to find/make the best Kannada font for the screen! They must really want to save Kannada!"

So, when I clicked on the English translation link, I was able to read the sad story on the page. It really was written by people hoping to save the integrity of their language in the digital age. It turns out that Microsoft has continually published software with numerous errors in its translation and usage of Kannada script and ignored programmers'/consumers' complaints about the product. But to make matters worse, Microsoft and the government of Karnataka have signed an agreement to "implement e-governance and paper-less government offices in the state." Which means that they'd be stuck using software that has butchered their native language with no remorse.

It has always confused and bothered me that the web has been SO incredibly dominated by English.. I'm only just beginning to read about the complexities of Unicode and the inputting of non-latin scripts on the internet, let alone using a complex script in Microsoft Word and other basic programs. This kind of 21st century cultural imperialism hopefully can be reduced and counter-acted with the brilliant programmers in the open source movement.. most of which are probably living in Bangalore, native speakers of Kannada. Ha, I'll stop now before I sound like a total idiot. I must read more!! Anyway, check out the site!

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