Visually challenged boy develops Braille-Hindi translation software
It was the most precious moment in the life of 17-year-old Satvir when he wrote CBSE's Hindi paper on Friday with the help of the Braille software he had developed. Titled "Braille Face", the software translates Braille commands into Hindi print language. With such an invention, the blind students Writing in Hindi would no longer need the help of writers during exams. A software for translating Braille command into English print form is already available in the market.
A Class X student of JPM Senior Secondary School and a resident of Blind Relief Association, Satvir, has developed the software with the aid of the visual basic programming language. "One has to use the six keys - F, D, S, J, K and L for typing any letter or word. These keys are the same dots used for writing in Braille. The software takes the Braille command, identifies the character combination and then automatically translates it into the print form of Devanagari script and thus displays it on screen," said Satvir, while explaining the operating system of the software. The Devanagari script is used for writing Hindi, Sanskrit and Marathi.
He was not allowed to use his own computer for the exams, so he had to install the software in the computer provided by the examination center in the presence of the exam instructors. Though he wanted to write all the exams with the aid of the computer, he could not do so as the software faced some technical snags and was fit for use only on Fridays.
By installing "Vaachak", the screen-reading software, Satvir has made the use of the computer more convenient. "Braille Face forces the Vaachak to recognize the character combination and speak out the word that appears on screen, which helps us understand that the word is correctly written," Satvir added.
Being an honest examinee, he has not added the special features in the software that could do the spell check as available in the JAWS software, the English screen reader. "Even though the software has the capacity of line-wise and character reading, it is developed in such a way that it could be used as plain answer sheet by the examinee with no availability of spell check features," said Satvir.
With the software on use, the visually challenged students writing in Hindi would no longer be at the mercy of the writers. "There is always short age of writers and even if they are available, they aren't dedicated as they do not have any stake in it. So, if this software is promoted and upgraded by the government, the visually challenged students writing in Hindi - would benefit," said Satvir.
"We allow the visually-challenged students to use computer for writing exams, the answer sheet is provided by the Board," said Pavnesh Kumar, the controller of examinations, CBSE. There is one visually challenged student in Delhi who Writes in English with the aid of computer while Satvir is the first to use computer to write exams in Hindi.