New Delhi The campaign to preserve vernacular mother tongues and make knowledge accessible to students through translation across the linguistic arc has taken a big stride with a new bilingual dictionary series in Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada from the source language, English.
An initiative of the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), National Translation Mission, Regional Institute of South Asia and Pearson Education, the six bilingual dictionaries is the first lot of the 11 dictionaries that the government is collaborating on with Pearson under its Longman imprint.
"The dictionaries, released in the national capital on Saturday, aims to fulfil the National Translation Mission's mandate to develop translation tools for 22 Indian languages under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution," said Aditi Mukherjee, project manager of the National Translation Mission.
The second lot of the language dictionaries that are in the works include Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu and Urdu, Mukherjee said.
"One of the primary mandates of the National Translation Mission, set up three years ago under the ministry of human resource development, is to promote academic education across 70-odd disciplines in 22 languages by translating 100 books in each discipline. The lexicon is an important translation tool — kind of a spring board to push the mother tongues, many of which are threatened with very few speakers," Mukherjee told IANS.
The Longman-NTM-CIIL dictionaries have over 12,000 words and phrases culled from the British National Corpus.
Translation studies as a concept took roots in the country in 1986 when the ministry of human resource development presented a document, Programme of Action — to make translation an academic and commercial pursuit.
The paper, conceptualised by late prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, a linguist, led to the establishment of the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies (CALTS) at the University of Hyderabad.
It was later followed by a translation website, "Anukriti" under the 10th Five-Year Plan and the National Translation Mission with the CIIL as its nodal agency.
The National Translation Mission is also trying to set up lexicon bases for languages such as Santhali, Konkani, Marathi, Bodo and Sanskrit, Udaya Narayan Singh said.