Rediff to speak Different Languages

Rediff is bracing up to launch the portal in 22 languages (by Jan 2009)

All Web sites including Yahoo and Rediff have this ‘look at me’ design for many years now where each item is screaming at the viewer to ‘look at me.’ We were forced to make it look like a newspaper, and though we wanted to change it since 1995, the time was not right. Then in a survey we conducted recently, we realised that 80 per cent of our users in the US had moved over to the phone and so redesigned the site for them. In the process, we recognized it as a better design than this ‘horseless carriage’ look.is planning to launch the portal in 22 regional Indian languages by early January 2009 – Ajit Balakrishnan

A welcome move, I must say as Rediff is facing stiff competition from the big players (Y/G) and the newest entrant, In.com.

Local language is the need of the hour and there is no way mass content portals can avoid this. For those who still don’t believe in local language support, local content goes back to the very basic USP behind the several English speaking courses in India – ‘the challenge is that we think in our mother tongue, and then convert to english’ – in essence, we are most comfortable with our mother tongue.
Now, that’s an inherent challenge which I strongly believe will work for content portals – I see most of my Telugu and Marathi friends read local e-newspapers – and that is primarily because a lot of local content is available for those languages.
In general, local content creation has been a big challenge and technology like transliteration, local language QWERTY keyboards (phonetic layouts) will help ride the content creation wave.

What’s your take?

Few interest developments: