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The Society for Natural Language Technology Research (SNLTR) is an organization that promotes research in Corpus Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing in Bengali language. Among its primary goals are creation and archiving of a fully Unicode-compatible Bengali literary corpus to be hosted and published online, as well as the creation of fonts that will help people type Bengali text with ease.
English is still the primary medium of interaction with computers. Consequently, a large section of the population in India is not able to reap the benefits of the technology. Though the issue of localization of interface has been discussed in different forum, the goal is yet to be achieved.
In spite of the fact that desktop publishing has come of age for Bengali and other Indian languages and there are several software available for Bengali, the problem persists due to the absence of i) standardization of Bengali encoding, ii) encoding compliant font design, iii) availability of compliant keyboard layouts etc. The lack of adherence to standard does not allow the computing activities in Indian languages to be inter-operable across computing platforms.
In order to make the computing activities Bengali compatible, it is essential to establish a proper standard. Though a number of organizations have taken up language processing activities, the necessity of establishing proper coherence among them is very much felt, in order to deliver useful products.
Language Technology research has to focus on two components, written text as well as spoken language .Besides text processing, speech generation and recognition are two very important areas in which research and development have to be focused. This development will not only result in more natural human-computer interfaces, but will also empower the physically challenged like those with speech impairment and visual impairment, to benefit from computer technology.
The Society for Natural Language Technology Research has been formed to address the above-mentioned requirements. The society has been seeded by the Government of West Bengal (Dept. of Information Technology) with initial funding and support. Operationally, the society aims to carry out its activities in a multipolar manner, involving other academic and research institutes as well as industries.
Data Representation and Encoding Standard: Society for Natural Language Technology Research has decided to accept UNICODE 5.0 and upwards as the standard for data representation and encoding for Bengali.
Mission and Goals
- To develop technology and standards to make computer usage Bengali enabled.
- To spread out the benefits of language technology research to real life activities including official works, education, and literature through development of suitable applications.
- To establish a collaborative environment of natural language processing related activities with educational and research organizations as well as with industries.
The immediate goals of the society are:
- To establish standards for Bengali text processing to ensure interoperability across platforms.
- To develop large standardized corpus for Bengali text and speech.
- To create an ensemble of available Bengali software and corpus in a standardized form and make them easily available to all.
- To develop new software and modify or enhance the existing software.
- To develop suitable speech Technology for Bengali.
- To work towards similar development for other Eastern Indian Languages.
Patrons and Advisers:
- Mr. F.C.Kohli ( Sr. Consultant, TCS )
- Prof. N. Balakrishnan (IISc Bangalore)
- Dr. S. Ramakrishnan (Director General – C-DAC)
- Prof. D. Acharya (Director, IIT Kharagpur)
- Prof. Sankar Kumar Pal (Former Director, ISI Kolkata)
- Prof. Dwijesh Dutta Majumdar (Professor Emeritus, ISI Kolkata)
- Prof. Bidyut Baran Chaudhuri (lNAE Distinguished Prof., CVPR Unit, ISI Kolkata)
- Prof. Pabitra Sarkar (Paschim Banga Bangla Academy Ex-VC, RBU, Kolkata)
- Prof. Anupam Basu (IIT Kharagpur)
Secretary cum Treasurer:
- Mr. Tamal Sen (DGM, Webel Informatics Ltd)
- Prof. Surya Sarathi Barat (Director, PDSIT, BESU)
- Dr. Subir Roy (Executive Director – NIC)
- Prof. Mita Nasipuri ( J. U.)
- Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ray (Vice Chancellor, BESU)
- Prof. Ashoke Kumar Dutta (Consultant, C-DAC, Kolkata)
- Prof. Probal Dasgupta (Linguistic Research Unit, I.S.I)
- Prof. Tapan Kumar Ghoshal (Professor E.E, J.U)
- Prof. Krishna Bhattacharya (Dept. of Linguistics, C.U)
- Prof. Arun Kumar Majumdar (Professor & DY. Director, IIT Kharagpur)
- Department of IT, Govt. of West Bengal
- IIT Kharagpur
- ISI Kolkata
- Calcutta University
- Jadavpur University
- Paschim Banga Bangla Academy
- MAT3 Impex
- Microsoft Research India