Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which works in collaboration with contributors worldwide to update and maintain content on its websites, has added Marathi as a language for user interface as a part of the process to launch the website in 25 major Indian regional languages.
Alolita Sharma, director of Features Engineering at Wikimedia Foundation, said, "We just completed and released the off line version of Marathi wikipedia about a weeks go and it has been a great achievement. With the enthusiasm and support of the Indian community, we hope to do this for all the 25 major Indian languages very soon!"
Apart from making the language versions available off line, the engineering and software development team of Wikipedia, along with Indian volunteers, is also developing Android and mobile apps for enabling India language access on mobile phones.
This would help one access and read Wikipedia in ones own language on phone and also contribute by adding and editing real-time to articles.
Alolita Sharma of Wikimedia Foundation added, "Our goal is to increase the reach of Wikipedia and to make it user friendly and accessible for the growing internet savvy Indian population while mobilising a technology platform to enable easy Indian language fonts. We aim at involving and encouraging sharing of content and knowledge for and by this large Indic language population by building open source tools and technologies to make it easier for reading and editing articles on Wikipedia in Indic languages."
She said the organisation is also working on providing the off line version of language wikis that can be downloaded, scanned or even printed on paper so as to reach to those who do not have internet access 24x7.
The Indic language push initiative was announced last year by Wikimedia Foundation for setting up an India centre to boost local language content. This is as a part of its strategic plan of Wikimedia Foundation, based in San Francisco, USA, to encourage readers and contributors in developing countries showing positive user trends.
The foundation will be working closely with Indian volunteers to make the technology user friendly and make the Indian language fonts and scripts available on Wikipedia so that common people can easily share and access the knowledge in their own mother tongue.
The Wikipedia Community and the Wikimedia Chapter hosted a WikiConference for the first time in the country last year in November.