Another vernacular content in India. Yahoo has launched its maps in local Indian languages and walking directions, for the first time in India. Yahoo! India Maps is now available in nine local languages. Apart from English, users can also experience it in Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Punjabi.
Of late, vernacular content in India has become a rising trend. After the biggies like Google, Yahoo, AOL etc. adding content in local languages, even channels like Animal Planet and search engines like Guruji are adding local language content now. As per Juxt report, although various players are trying to pull traffic by coming up with local language sites – including Yahoo!, Google News, Blogger and Webduniya – it is Google that has captured the throne when it comes to vernacular content. Out of the three million local language content users, 12 per cent prefer Google for searching local language content and 8 per cent local language users log on to Yahoo! for local language content. South Indians constitute 52 per cent of the entire vernacular user base. Some 19 per cent of the three million vernacular content users prefer Tamil and 19 per cent prefer Hindi. Malayalam is preferred by 15 per cent of the users.
But when it comes to vernacular content, I do have my doubts over there. What I’ve observed is that by vernacular content, most of the sites in India mean translating English content in local languages. Does translation itself classify the content credible enough for local language TG? I mean do you think that the target audience for Hindi or Tamil content will be similar to their English translated content? Have we ever pondered on the fact that despite lots of local language portals coming up in India, why haven’t we still got the desired traffic for those portals? Of course internet penetration and computer literacy are two important reasons but one very strong reason I guess is the missing local or regional flavor from these content. While translation of national / international content is good but if the publishers won’t give that regional tadka to the content, they will never be able to get those traffic and hit counts on vernacular portals!