Language Technology Made in India

Report by Rucha L. Sheth.

After a slow entry into the language technology space, India promises an interesting journey moving forward, as user preferences increasingly lean towards native language content.

The Indian language demographics are as diverse as it gets, with 22 official languages. In all, there are 122 major and 1,599 minor languages. Most of the 10 most widely spoken languages have distinct writing systems.

The Digital 2020: India report by Datareportal on India’s digital trends, released in February 2020, reports 687.6 million internet users. What’s most interesting is that, of these 687.6 million users, only 175 million speak English, English being their second or even third language.

Rural India is the main contributor to this growth, registering a 35 percent increase in new users as compared to a mere 7 percent in urban India. It is important to add here that rural India prefers content in native languages while urban India primarily consumes English content. Clearly the demand for content in native languages is on a rise.

More than half of the Indian Internet user base is Non-English.  
More than two thirds of Hindi readers are also reading English. 
With a 66% share in overall content consumption, regional Languages have surpassed English.

Source: Times Internet for Marketers

What’s more, a big chunk of the native language content is being consumed via smartphones. Looking at usage patterns for content in India’s eight most widely spoken languages shows that mobile phones are the clear winner, with Marathi being an exception.

Mobile is fast becoming the primary screen for language content consumption.

Source: Times Internet for Marketers

The increase of Internet penetration among non-English speaking users has been the principal factor spurring the development of language technology and language digitization in India.

This has been a preview. The full report can be accessed online by Nimdzi Partners.

The full publication contains information on the main domestic players, the types of solutions developed in-country, and what lies ahead for Indian language technology. If you are not a Nimdzi Partner, contact us.
Rucha Sheth - Nimdzi Insights

Rucha L. Sheth is Nimdzi's Localization Researcher. If you wish to learn more about the language industry and technology providers in India, feel free to reach out to Rucha at [email protected].

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