Research and development on using ICT in local languages commenced formally by a State sector organization at the Council for Information Technology (CINTEC) in the late eighties. Later, with the setting up of the Local Languages Working Group at the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) in 2003, all that was needed – i.e. OS support, fonts, keyboard layouts, keyboard drivers, standards, locale information, terminology etc – were addressed. Local language computing initiatives are also carried out at the Universities of Colombo, Moratuwa and Jaffna etc.
As a result of these initiatives it is now possible to type in Sinhala and Tamil, exchange information in Sinhala and Tamil using computers and mobile devices and browse the web in Sinhala and Tamil without having to download various fonts. The content on websites in local languages is displayed as Sinhala and Tamil content, rather than being seen as undecipherable symbols. There is no necessity to send fonts with emails, no need to download fonts to view the web. All this was made possible through adherence to standards.
With continued interest in the area of ICT in local languages, it has now been ascertained that different organizations may be using resources and time on the same initiatives thus duplicating resources. Students and researchers may not be aware of exactly which entity to contact when seeking local language content or resources. This language portal has been set up to address the above lacuna.