Google adds Tulu to its translation services, community says it is a great honour

Tulu joins 110 new languages on Google Translate, marking a historic moment for the millions of people who speak this language.


Published Jun 30, 2024 | 11:33 AM Updated Jun 30, 2024 | 11:34 AM

Tulu translation in Google Translate.

In a significant stride towards preserving and promoting regional languages, Google has added Tulu to its translation services.

The Tulu translation services were announced by Google on 27 June.

Tulu joins 110 new languages on Google Translate, marking a historic moment for the millions of people who speak this language. This addition allows users to easily translate Tulu words and phrases, enhancing the accessibility and understanding of this cherished language.

The Tulu-speaking community, which has long sought greater recognition for their language, is celebrating this achievement as a major honour, especially since Tulu is not officially recognised in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Also Read: Remembering Gopala Naika, the remarkable poet-singer of Tulu’s ‘Siri Epic’

‘Expected to improve’

While the initial translations for Tulu on Google Translate may contain some errors, the system is expected to improve over time. Users are encouraged to provide accurate translations in the feedback section to help refine and enhance the service’s accuracy.

Google’s inclusion of Tulu leverages advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. This involves a statistical-based method that relies on large amounts of data. For Tulu, approximately 2 million translated sentences, including nouns and verbs, were fed into the system, allowing the machine to learn and improve its translations progressively.

Expressing satisfaction over the new global acclaim of the Tulu language, Tharanath Gatty Kapikad, president of Karnataka State Tulu Academy, told PTI that the Tuluva people must make extensive use of this new global service and take forward the literary heritage of the Tulu language.

He said it is natural that there could be some misgivings in translating from one language to another. In such cases, he advised Tuluvas to use the feedback button on Google Translate to correct such misgivings.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister M Veerappa Moily had been a strong votary of the inclusion of the Tulu language into the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and had taken a delegation to meet various Central leaders to include the Tulu language into the Eighth Schedule.

He expressed happiness over the new global recognition given to the Tulu language by Google by creating a translation interface with other languages. That means Tulu has gained much more ground on a global scale.

Also Read: Litterateur, Tulu conservationist Palthady Ramakrishna Achar passes away

Tulu in movies

Even non-Tulu speakers in Karnataka may have encountered Tulu phrases through popular Kannada movies such as ‘Ulidavaru Kandanthe,’ ‘Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana,’ and ‘Kantara,’ as well as the Hindi movie ‘Welcome.’

Despite some initial challenges and the need for ongoing refinements, the inclusion of Tulu in Google Translate is a milestone. It paves the way for greater preservation and broader usage of the language. This global recognition not only brings pride to the Tulu-speaking community but also ensures that Tulu remains relevant and vibrant in the digital age.

Tulu has a script of its own but not popularised. The Dharmasthala Museum for Art has displayed Tulu script.

Efforts are on at the national level to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. Tulu is also a language of entry for the TOEFL examination.

Kuppam University in Andhra Pradesh has a chair for Tulu development.

Tuluva scholars like Prof. Viveka Rai, the late Amrut Someshwara and the late KS Haridas Bhat recognised Tulu as one of the ‘Pancha Dravida Bhasha‘ — Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tulu.

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