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Akhar software set for major upgrade, Punjab Police gets beta version

The upgraded software, developed by Research Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi language at the university, will be rolled out for public in two months.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
June 12, 2021 9:50:43 am
Punjabi University, Patiala, has got an upgrade of "Akhar" Software which has advanced features and has already been made available to the Punjab Police. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Punjabi University, Patiala, is all set to roll out upgraded version of its flagship software ‘Akhar’, which means ‘word’ in Punjabi, with advanced features like multilingual search, spell check with an emphasis on nouns, Punjabi grammar check and transliteration of Gurmukhi text to Shahmukhi (Punjabi script used in West Punjab in Pakistan), Devanagri and Roman scripts and reverse.

The software was first launched in 2016 as the first word processor for Punjabi, Hindi, Shahmukhi and English with powerful features for typing, spell checking and translation.

The upgraded software, developed by Research Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi language at the university, will be rolled out for public in two months. It has already been made available to Punjab Police for analysing crime data.

Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta said the software was proving to be very helpful in crime data analysis.

“We got this tool from Punjabi University Patiala about six months ago. It is very handy in crime data analysis,” Gupta told The Indian Express.

The upgrade is a product of an analysis of more than 2.5 crore Punjabi words from various sources. The new version will come equipped with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert Gurmukhi images to text and Braille.

“The analysis of around 2.5 crore Punjabi words from various online platforms revealed that more than 2.5 per cent words in Punjabi were wrongly spelled. In fact, an analysis by us last year revealed that in Punjabi version of Wikipedia, around 9 per cent of Punjabi words were wrongly spelled,” computer science professor, who also heads Research Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi, Gurpreet Singh Lehal, told The Indian Express over phone.

Lehal also revealed that the database also included official website of Punjab government which also spelled the Punjabi words “wrongly”.

Lehal added, “The analysis of Punjab government’s official website revealed that Google translation was used to translate the text into Punjabi language. There were a number of words which were half Punjabi and half English. Not much emphasis was laid on spell check.”

Lehal said that while developing the upgraded version of the software, various versions of names of students from Punjabi University, from Punjab School Education Board and the names of accused in the police records were put in the database.

He added, “As the details also contained names of the parents, we were able to collect a huge database.”

“We will roll out the upgraded version of the software in two months’ time for public,” said Lehal, adding: “We have already made this available to Punjab Police. It helps police search results of any name or city which may have been spelled differently by the officer in-charge.” Currently, as per Lehal, there are 7,412 users of Akhar 2016. The latest version will also include an email facility and a Punjabi Thesaurus.

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