NLP Lab for Urdu promotion



THE Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has approved the project ‘Establishment of National Language Processing Laboratory’ (NLP-Lab) to implement and promote Urdu as the national language. The core objective of the project is reported to be to elevate Urdu to the status of languages with extensive digital data resources and equip it with modern technology applications.

Indeed this is an era of digital and interactive technologies connecting people in multi-user working spaces where users can interact, share and externalize their ideas in open spaces, interplaying with others’ voices in different and multiple multimodal channels. Technology is shaping human thinking and impacting on how we think and interact with others. In this context, the project of establishing National Language Processing Laboratory is a step in the right direction and indicates the government’s commitment to promote Urdu on the digital platforms. The project envisages the development of several applications such as Machine Translation, Speech Recognition and Optical Character Recognition that will make language learning more accessible, facilitate cross border communication and commerce, enable people to access online content, promote cross cultural understanding and help preserve language resources. There should not be doubt in anybody’s mind that the languages that adapt to the latest technology will survive in today’s world. It is really important that this project of NLP-lab does not mere remain only on papers but also implemented on a fast track basis. We believe this will be a step forward to implement Urdu as an official language in all government departments. A direction to this effect was also given by Supreme Court of Pakistan under Article 251 of the Constitution. The founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam had laid great emphasis on the national language to keep the nation united. This is why he had declared Urdu as the national language. Nations that have achieved heights of progress and development had a complete command on their national as well as regional languages and literature and they loved traditional art. Developed nations do not forget their heritage, art and culture, and they feel proud of their artistes. Hence, we welcome any effort aimed at promoting both Urdu and other local languages in the country. We will also suggest the government that examinations for induction in government departments including Central Superior Services (CSS) are also conducted in Urdu language.