Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why are you not blogging in your mother tongue?

Blog in your own language

Web blog is one of the most successful model of human nature's desire to express his slightest of emotions. Well, blog in English has matured enough within a short span of time, where you can find hundreds of thousands of blogger uttering their pleasure, displeasure or even plain expressions like what they have eaten last evening; but blog in our own language especially Indian languages is finding its way slowly. One of the main reasons behind it is that the acceptable technologies for publishing contents in complex Indic scripts are still unavailable universally. Blogs in some of Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil & Bangla has already started for quite some time, whereas, in some other Indian languages, it is yet to start. Even in Hindi and Bangla, there were only a handful of bloggers out there who blog regularly. Blog is a very strong medium to express your unhindered, uninhibited thoughts - Uninterrupted. You do not need an express permission from anyone else and neither one's mercy to express your thoughts through blog. So, just start writing blogs that too in your own language, which are definitely better for you and your community. It is true that English has potential to reach globally, but there are other means for that language (you can parallel your blog in English too, as most do); moreover, a blog, which consist mainly personal stuff, meant more for our community and therefore give more impact if it is in our own language. Here is a brief guide for you that tells you to how to create your own blog in your own language.

Find a blog site to register that supports Unicode

There are hundreds of sites that support blog, and, may be your own home site now has an added provision for blog. But, to write blog in Indian languages and for universal reach, you should write your blog in Unicode. Well, most sites support Unicode now and hence you should not worry much. In case of doubt, use one of the best, biggest and free blog site, blogger.com. Go to web address- http://www.blogger.com/start and you will see a screen indicating an arrow with label ‘CREATE YOUR BLOG NOW’. When you click upon it, it will lead you to a wizard like interface where you have to answer simple questions and fill out simple web-form for creating your account. It is similar as you create your web based e-mail account. When your account is finally created, you will able to post your blogs there after. Creating a blog account is easy enough wherein you have to give username, password etc., but posting in your own language may require your system ready to take Unicode input, with your language specific keyboard. This is the area where you will find no default system installed in Indian languages and therefore needs user installed settings. That is why there are not much bloggers out there in Indian languages. But, things are changing fast and you will find preconfigured, ready to use, out of the box usable Indian language enabled Operating Systems like Linux Live CD distributions -'Rangoli' form indlinux.org.

Create Language specific input Environment in Windows XP

Technically, you can arrange things such as programs, applications and utilities etc. to input Unicode characters for Indian languages in Windows 98, it is recommended to use Windows XP. If you do not have Windows XP, then try considering installing latest Linux distribution which now has all the necessary tools for blog in Indian Languages. First, let us take case of Windows XP, which most of us use. If your computer has not set for taking input in Indian language, say Hindi, then you need to enable this setting through its control panel. Go to Windows XP’s control panel, then open Regional and Language Options. Click on Languages tab on the child window that appears, and on next screen, click on Details button, and then finally click on Add button. Now, select the Language you want to write your blogs among these Indian Languages you will find- Gujrati, Hindi, Konkani, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Hopefully, we may see more Indian Languages soon in its newer versions. Click OK to apply settings and your computer is ready to take input in the language you had recently added. You can switch between default English and the added additional language through shortcut key combination or by choosing through mouse click from language bar, usually available besides system tray. You can dock language bar anywhere in your desktop. Now, the real hard part comes to you. If you are not in to your language, typing your thoughts in your language is a bit difficult initially, since you have to learn a new keyboard. Even you may be using your language keyboard say KrutiDev in Hindi, even then the installed keyboard may be radically different than you may be using. In this case, you need to learn a new keyboard or use Keyboard mapping utilities that may be available for your language. For example, for Hindi, there are many key-map converters available through which you can simply use your existing language Key-board to input Unicode characters. And, if you have Hindi MS Office installed, you need not worry about what Keyboard you are using. It supports nearly all Hindi Keyboards that exists in India, including phonetic keyboards. If you are not seriously in to languages, then you can use phonetic keyboard (like Devrom) which converts words you type in to English as they are spoken, and it will convert in that language. However, some errors may creep in and the method is slow and not for serious use. If you want to be a serious Blogger in your own language, then try to learn your native language keyboard, it will not take much time. Within weeks, you will start typing your blog in your own language proficiently.

Language environment in Linux

Linux is pretty; free Operating System that now has most of the Indian Language interfaces than any other Operating System. Yes, Linux is now available in Hindi, Bangla, Gujrati, Tamil, Malyalam and Punjabi fully supported and a few more partially supported and most of the Indian languages enabled. But since configuring Linux for Languages is a bit difficult task for an average reader, it is recommended to use pre-configured live CD distribution like Milan / Rangoli from indlinux.org. You can download the iso image of the CD from the web site http://www.indlinux.org. Further, if you already are a Linux user, then you can download language installer file for GNOME / KDE from the above stated site. The file contains the entire necessary files including keyboard maps etc. for Indian Language it supports. Indian Language enabled Linux Live CD Milan has already been carried previously in Linux For You, the sister publication. See http://raviratlami1.blogspot.com/2005/06/using-indian-language-in-linux-fedora.html for detailed instruction for setting Linux for Indic languages.

Finally, blah blah blog…

Once you set your computer to take input in your own language, you can start posting your blogs. Let us assume that you had registered to blogger.com. It has nice, simple interface for posting your blog. Here, you can record your profile to show the readers of your blog. You can change various settings so that you can receive comments from readers for your blog if you wish so. There are easy to use templates you can choose to publish your blog with look and feel you want. Even you can have your own page with custom links and other feeds. Blogger.com also supports posting through e-mail. But then your e-mail client must fully support Unicode else, it will put ??? in place of Unicode characters it does not recognize.

Want to comment something about this article? Well, blog it down and send us the URL for our comments.

Screenshot Descriptions:

Blog01 Blog in Hindi

Blog02 Blogger.com, one of the most popular blog sites, easy to register and post.

Blog03 Some browsers with some settings may not correctly display Indian Language fonts and some characters may look malformed. For example, Mozilla browser cannot render Indic fonts efficiently. But, hopefully, things will be sorted out soon and remember, your blogs will remain there forever till you want.

Blog04 Enable Indian language keyboard in Windows XP through its Control Panel’s Regional and Language Options.

Blog05 You can post your blog through e-mail. For Indian language, though, there is precondition that your e-mail client must have full Unicode support.

Blog06 Blog in Bangla

Blog07 Blog in Tamil

1 comment:

irodov said...

hi!

if u havent used quillpad
try that site out ..
you can basically start posting in your mother tongue itself.
it caters almost for all south indian languages,hindi and marathi also.
you just need to know to pseak in ur native language

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