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T.V. Raman – an eye opening personality

Image source http://emacspeak.sourceforge.net/raman/Google’s TV Raman is one eye-opener of a personality. Dr. Raman cannot see, and his occasional blog posts about features of web accessibility for the visually impaired are really useful and interesting, also for the rest of us. In his latest post on the offical Google blog, Dr. Raman tells us about how his OCRopus when teamed together with Emacspeak can help blind people read – no, not Braille, but normally written text.
Dr. Raman says

As someone who cannot see, I prefer to live in a mostly paperless world. This means ruthlessly turning every piece of paper that enters my life into a set of bits that I can process digitally. I scan in everything.

Having depended thus far on commercially available OCR software, T.V. Raman has now lauched his own open source OCR initiative, OCRopus, that turns scanned matter into html text. It has support for Emacspeak, another of Raman’s pet projects, that turns digital web text into speech.
In his last post on the Google blog, Dr. Raman told us about how he used Google search as a spell check tool for names of people and places.
According to his resume on his website, Dr. TV Raman holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University, having done his BA in Mathematics from Pune University, MSc from IIT Bombay and MS from Cornell. Subsequently, he has worked for Adobe, IBM among other companies, and currently works for Google. I salute you, Dr. Raman.
I like the quote on his website

On the Internet, no one knows you aren’t a dog! Nor even if you are still the same dog!

I hope this blog post reaches Dr. Raman through a pingback on his post, which doesn’t allow comments. Dr. Raman, is anything being done at Google about accessibility of web pages in other languages, particularly ones that use other scripts? I work in Hindi on the web, and am really curious as to when we will be able to see some progress in that language.

4 replies on “T.V. Raman – an eye opening personality”

With respect to your question about accessibility and Indian
language Web sites, the situation is quite depressing. Before we
even get to the access issues that usually cause problems today
with sites in English, one has to first ensure that Indic
language Web
sites use a consistent character encoding — often that tends to
be not the case. Next, there is the question of text-to-speech in
the Indian languages, and software that uses such engines to
produce output in Indian languages.

@raman
Thanks for your response, Dr. Raman. I am pleased to inform you that the problem of diverse encodings for Indian language use on the web is slowly, if not completely, disappearing. Unicode fonts have solved this problem to a large extent, and nearly all of a few thousand Indic blogs on the net are in Unicode (UTF-8 encoding) — afaik. When I checked last, Tamil blogs lead the pack with 800 odd blogs, and Hindi blogs followed closely.

I SALUTE DR.RAMAN FOR HIS IMMENSE HELP
FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED.
MAY GOD GRANT HIM LONG LIFE AND SUCCESS
IN HIS RESEARCH ACTIVITIES.
I BOW BEFORE SUCH NOBLE PERSON.

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