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Information technology promotes development of Tibetan language

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

03-22-2017 20:54 BJT

XINING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Yangkye, a Tibetan housewife, regularly uses smartphone apps to plan her life.

"I check the weather on my phone so that I can know when to dry my barley. I know how many steps I need to finish circling the Taer Monastery," said Yangkye, 52, who lives in Xining, capital of Qinghai Province in northwest China.

An increasing number of mobile phone apps in the Tibetan language have made life more convenient for Tibetan people.

Drakpa works at the Qinghai Tibetan Medical Research Institute and uses the app "Wise Tibetan Calendar" to assist his work.

"The calendar sends reminders when certain Tibetan traditional medicine need be collected. For example on March 21 the soul position says the first knucklebone, which means the first knucklebone of one's hand, cannot be subject to blood-letting or fire acupuncture treatment," Drakpa said. "If you check the timing it states the first half of the day, which means it is better for patients to receive treatment before 11 o'clock in the morning," he added.

The app was launched by the institute and a company from Sichuan last year, and has been downloaded 27,000 times. Up to 100 new users download it every day.

"Information technology, like mobile phone apps, does not only change the way people live. It helps develop the language and culture," Drakpa said.

Qinghai is home to several academic institutes that push information technology for the development of the Tibetan language. Tseringa leads an important lab at Qinghai Normal University that develops automatic translation between Tibetan and Chinese.

"The accuracy rate has reached 75 percent," said Tseringa, deputy director of the lab. "The automatic translation system will be available through a phone app in the future."

In August last year, developers in Qinghai launched China's first Tibetan-language search engine. Yongzin.com is a unified portal for all major Tibetan-language websites in China.

"It has scored over 80 million visits by web users," said a technical supervisor of the search engine.

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