IIT Bombay software to enable live translations in regional languages inside classrooms

IIT Bombay software enabling live translation into regional languages ​​in classrooms

“Bahubhaashak” is funded by MEITY under the National Language Translation Mission

The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) has developed a software tool called ‘Bahubhaashak’ (polyglot) that will enable real-time translation of lectures inside classrooms in multiple languages ​​with the help of artificial intelligence.

Speech-to-Speech Machine Translation (SSMT) provides translations from English to Hindi, English to Marathi and Hindi to Marathi. Developed by the Center for Indian Language Technology (CFILT) at IIT Bombay’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Bahubhaashak was initially funded as a pilot project by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) in 2020. It is now a fully-fledged program that is part of the National Language Translation Mission of the Ministry (NLTM) and will be deployed for monetization.

The translation process involves four steps. First, the speech in the language is converted to text using automatic speech recognition and corrected for vocal disfluencies such as fillers like “uhm” and “umm”. Next, the text in one language is converted into another selected language using machine translation. Finally, this text is translated into speech in the same language. The whole process takes one to two seconds.

To enable the translations, the program’s developers scraped 60,000 pairs of sentences from various websites, including Wikipedia and government ones. Then using “supervised learning” where the correct pair of sentences in two different languages ​​is entered, the machines learn to correctly predict the output and translate.

“We plan to provide this technology to private engineering schools to enable them to translate lectures from English into local languages. We are also talking to the Bombay High Court to help them translate into Hindi court cases referred to them from lower courts in local languages.” We also expect a lot of interest from the tourism industry and travel portals like MakeMyTrip,” Professor Pushpak Bhattacharya of IIT-Bombay.

The tool is available as a web service, and there are also plans to develop a mobile application that will be freely available to everyone, at least initially, the professor said.

CFILT is now working on two more projects under NLTM titled ‘Ishaan’ which focuses on languages ​​from North East where bi-directional text to text translation between English and Assamese, Bodo, Manipuri and Nepali will be provided; between Hindi and Manipuri; and Assamese and Bodo. The Vidyapati project will provide two-way text-to-text translation between Hindi and regional languages ​​such as Bengali, Konkani, Maithili and Marathi.

The project was part of the exhibition during the two-day fair from October 14-15 at IIT-Delhi, where all the 23 IITs in the country exhibited their research and development work. According to Pawan Goenka, Chairman, IIT Madras, the focus of the fair was to take innovations developed by IITs to industry so that they could be commercialized and also find solutions to local problems.

The government’s support for Bahubhaashak comes against the backdrop of the National Education Policy 2020, which emphasizes the promotion of multilingualism and Indian languages ​​and recommends mother tongue or local language as the medium of instruction in schools, colleges and universities. The All India Board of Technical Education has already translated 22 first-year engineering syllabus books into 12 planned Indian languages ​​and Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to launch the Hindi version of the MBBS books in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.


I am Sanjit Gupta. I have completed my BMS then MMS both in marketing. I even did a diploma in computer software and Digital Marketing.

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