EghtesadOnline: The amount of online content in Persian has observed a significant boom in recent years with Iran’s ICT minister saying that the Persian script’s share in cyberspace has doubled.
Announcing the twofold rise in the web content typed in Persian, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi urged local firms and Iranian users to introduce platforms and mechanisms to promote the Persian language.
According to the minister, the share of Persian content published on the World Wide Web has increased from 0.9% to 1.8% during the past years, noting that reaching a 4% target is desired, Financial Tribune reported.
He said modern technologies need to be employed to promote Persian, and called on entities active in the field to cooperate and share resources with each other, local technology website Digiato reported.
Persian Learning App
Last week during a ceremony to mark the 6th anniversary of Saadi Foundation (a Persian-promoting organization), Azari-Jahromi unveiled a Persian learning mobile app. The app named Learn Persian has been developed jointly by Oxin Holding and Saadi Foundation.
The ICT chief pointed out that technology can help people overcome the language barrier and bridge the gap created by cultural differences.
Azari-Jahromi believes that the current uptrend in technologies will lead to the removal of the language barrier in the years to come, emphasizing that introduction of translation and interpretation projects using artificial intelligence is of vital significance.
He praised a homegrown online translation platform named “Targoman” (translation in Persian) which offers services similar to Google Translate which according to the minister is of superior quality compared to its foreign peer.
Azari-Jahromi also noted that technology has its attendant risks, in some cases pushing marginalized languages to the brink of extinction.
“We used to witness the same thing when mobile phones did not support Persian, and people were forced to used Fingilish (a portmanteau of Persian and English) to send text messages,” he added.
The ICT minister pointed to two factors contributing to the revival of Persian language online, namely the integration of Persian-supporting keyboards into popular devices (e.g. iDevices and gadgets that run on Android), and financial policies that encourage people to use Persian when texting.
The latter refers to a reduction in costs when typing in Persian, with Iranian users getting a 50% discount from local mobile operators for text messages typed in Persian compared to English.
The policy has been successful and these days, 95% of text messages are typed in Persian, according to Azari-Jahromi.
In September 2017, Apple released its iOS11 update adding an authentic Persian keyboard to its operating system. Prior to the update, Persian speaking iDevice users had to employ a variety of keyboards developed by third-party programmers or a jumbled mix of English and Arabic letters to write Persian words. Persian is the 15th most spoken language in the world with 120 million speakers.