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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 July 2024

AI tool to power BJP's south push, Namo app to translate PM Modi's speeches in real time

Eyeing the 130 Lok Sabha seats in the linguistically and culturally diverse region, the BJP’s poll managers and backroom boys are banking on the AI-enabled translation tool Bhashini to interpret Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 31.03.24, 06:48 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

An AI-powered, real-time speech translation tool is likely to be a special weapon in the BJP’s armoury to bridge the language barrier and reach out to the south Indian electorate.

Eyeing the 130 Lok Sabha seats in the linguistically and culturally diverse region, the BJP’s poll managers and backroom boys are banking on the AI-enabled translation tool Bhashini to interpret Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches.

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Embedded in the Namo mobile app, the tool helps people listen to Modi’s
Hindi speeches in the state language in real time.

“All you need is the Namo app to listen to the Prime Minister’s speeches in Telugu, or any of the listed Indian languages, in real time. This is way better than intermittent translation breaks that often kill the momentum. It is 90 per cent accurate,” Telangana BJP spokesperson N.V. Subhash told The Telegraph on Saturday.

The homegrown AI-enabled tool that can translate to and from over a dozen Indian languages was first used at the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in December in Varanasi.

Modi had described it as a “new beginning” that would help him reach out to the
non-Hindi speakers. And it had seemingly struck a chord among the audience, which heard a Tamil translation of his speech in real time.

The tool has also helped the party translate Modi's speeches with voiceovers in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Bengali, Marathi and Punjabi. These have been shared on social media platforms for a wider reach.

Modi spoke entire paragraphs in Kannada, apparently written in Hindi and delivered through teleprompters, during last year’s Karnataka state election. However, he didn’t get the diction right.

“Bhashini will be a huge game-changer in terms of communicating to the people in southern states where Hindi is not easily understood,” said Jayasooryan, national vice-president of the Kisan Morcha who is in charge of the party’s booth-level activities in Kerala.

Jayasooryan added: “I am sure the Prime Minister’s words will have a bigger impact once they are translated in real time into the respective state language.

“The response from the audience when he utters a single Malayalam word is amazing. So, imagine when an entire speech is delivered to them in Malayalam in real time!”

Jayasooryan suggested that Bhashini could be used in Modi’s Mann Ki Baat broadcasts and his addresses to party workers.

A BJP backroom expert in Bangalore admitted the Prime Minister’s speech is often lost in translation by an interpreter. “I think that is where Bhashini will play a huge role in bridging the communication gap. It will help us avoid poor translations that have often plagued important speeches,” said the BJP leader, who declined to be named.

Modi is set to embark on a gruelling campaign in the southern states, where the party hopes to better its 2019 tally of 29 seats and open its account in three states.

Academic and socio-political commentator M.N. Karassery said no AI tool would help camouflage Modi’s abrasive tenor and body language.

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