NLA Machine translation (MT) Urdu software

NLA launches Urdu software to break language barriers
Islamabad, July 19: English is no more a barrier in learning computer and internet technology as National Language Authority (NLA) on Saturday released and Urdu software carrying computing and processing systems, developed by its Centre of Excellence for Urdu Informatics.

Machine translation (MT) software is a big step and now Urdu Data House is ready to replace other National languages on cyber space, NLA Chairman Iftikhar Arif announced in a ceremony.

"Microsoft applications like Windows, Office are now converted into Urdu operating systems. One font and one keyboard for Urdu and other Pakistani languages is also released by NLA," Arif said.

Arif said in a rapidly growing integrated technology, it was inevitable to make Urdu language parallel to developed contemporary languages in usage of computer, internet and informatics. "Unveiling Urdu software is a step forward in development of Urdu language," he said.

He said under this project, Nastaleeq font was developed to support Urdu and all Pakistani languages. "As the font is Unicode, hence all kinds of data processing and computing become possible," he said.

He said with the use of such fonts, Urdu became a language of internet. "Basic letters, dots and diacritics are also separated, on basis of Ghost Character Theory, now registered with ISO and Unicode, whereas, it is not a feature of Inpage Urdu," he said.

He said MT software had been developed to perform automatic translation from English to Urdu. "To develop a software for a general language translation is near impossible. Initially, the scope of this MT software is translate official discourse including budget and finance matters," Arif said.

He said Urdu Database would make language resources available at one click and its application with testing data was ready to be used for data processing with an aim to develop a comprehensive language reference bank not only for scholars, researchers, teachers but also for students and general public.

"This is a post-dictionary work, where one is not forced to share a prior knowledge of work or phrase as a prerequisite of searching its meaning and usage," he said.

Arif said Urdu Style Guide let researchers, authors and publishers to style articles, books and other materials automatically as per international and customised standards. "Applying style manually not only takes extra time but also extra care. With the use of Urdu Style Guide, raw data is formatted just by one click. The first part of this product is a Bibliographer that is being released for writers," he said.

Dr Attash Durrani, Centre of Excellence for Urdu Informatics project director, said, "Survival of the fittest is the rule applied on languages as well in a global village. Only those languages will survive that are available on computer and internet." Daily Times

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Posting of junior teacher raises eyebrows
Lahore: The recent posting of a BPS-17 lecturer against a BPS-18 administrative post with additional charge of BS-19 post by the Punjab Higher Education Department has raised many eyebrows with some stakeholders accusing high-ups of favouring the incumbent because of his political connections.

The lecturer, Muhammad Afzal, is among those over 90 ad hoc lecturers who were reinstated in March this year on orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Reportedly, the Punjab government had sacked the lecturers who had been serving for almost 14 years from service in 2001 instead of regularizing them.

It is learnt that during this period Muhammad Afzal started taking part in local politics, developed relations with senior leaders of the PML-N and also won elections at Union Council level in Dera Ghazi Khan.

According to sources in the department, as per rules the post of DO Colleges was to be filled from among the teaching cadre, however, the candidate should have been an assistant professor of BS-18. They said similarly the recently created post of Director Colleges at divisional level was meant for associate professor of BPS-19.

They said at present not a single DO Colleges except of DG Khan was of BPS-17 while adding similarly all posts of Director Colleges had been filled except of DG Khan Division.

They even claimed the Establishment Wing of the department was intentionally not filling the post of Director Colleges of DG Khan so that the lecturer kept enjoying 'authority'.

The sources said the department had to face political pressure each time appointment was to be made on administrative posts as such postings were always considered lucrative as they offered various facilities such as official vehicle etc.

When contacted, Muhammad Afzal said his posting had nothing to do with politics adding his posting was ordered by the department secretary. To a question, he said he was verbally asked to look after the charge of Director Colleges.

Additional Secretary (Establishment) of the Punjab Higher Education Department Humayun Maqbool Bhatti claimed that the department had to face problems in posting officials against administrative posts in unattractive areas.

"We have to post even BPS-17 lecturers as principals in unattractive areas", he further claimed.

To a question whether any of the DO (Colleges) from any district of the province was of BPS-17, Bhatti said" "I cannot recall right now". He, however, maintained that the said DO had not been asked to look after the office of Director Colleges.

He said a summary was moved to the chief minister regarding appointment of Director Colleges at DG Khan Division however it was sent back with observations. He expressed hope that a regular incumbent would soon be posted at DG Khan.

Punjab Professors & Lecturers Association (PPLA) President Nazim Hasnain said the posting was certainly disappointing as merit was not observed. He said if the CM claimed supremacy of merit in the province than it should be same for all.

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Internship programme 2009
Lahore: A four-month internship programme 2009 for final year DVM students was inaugurated at the University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (UVAS) by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz on Saturday. A five-day orientation workshop was also organised in this connection which concluded on Saturday. Speaking at the concluding session, the VC lauded the efforts made by the Faculty of Veterinary Science in arranging the internship placement for 109 students in the public and private sectors.

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Old books exhibition
Lahore: Punjab Minister for Culture and Youth Affairs Dr Tanvirul Islam has said that book reading habit has diminished in people, especially in youth, and computer has replaced books. He was addressing the three-day exhibition of rare and antique books at the Lahore Cultural Heritage Museum (Old Tolinton Market) on Saturday. A number of old and antique books in English and Urdu had been displayed in the exhibition. The minister said the exhibition would provide an opportunity to people to read centuries old original books.

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UHS seminars
Lahore: THE University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore is organizing a series of orientation seminars for students on Entrance Test 2009 for admission to medical and dental institutions of the province. The first seminar of this series will be held on Tuesday, July 21, at 10:00 am in the auditorium of Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore. Entry is free for all. UHS Vice Chancellor Prof. M.H. Mubbashar will conduct the seminar. He will explain the new system of Entrance Test being introduced by the university this year to the students. The News

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