SC verdicts now being translated into Bengali

‘Amar Bhasha’ software is used to translate judgments

The Supreme Court’s (SC) verdicts and orders that are written in English are now being translated into Bengali so that most of the people can understand the judgment and the orders easily.

With the aim of making the Supreme Court judgments understandable in vernacular language, a translation cell was set up in the top court to convert verdicts from the concerned cell through using a particular software.

The translation cell as well as the Supreme Court began translating verdicts of the Appellate Division and High Court Division from English to Bengali.  

The Supreme Court on February 18 launched the Artificial Intelligence (AI) based translation software ‘Amar Bhasha’ to translate judgements and orders of the Supreme Court. Some verdicts of the top court have already been translated into Bengali.

Spokesperson of the Supreme Court and Special Officer of the High Court Division Barrister Md Saifur Rahman on Monday said that five verdicts of the Supreme Court have been translated recently through using the software. One of the verdicts was delivered from the Appellate Division, while four verdicts were delivered from the High Court Division.

He, however, said the verdicts have been translated so that the two sides of a case and others can easily understand the judgment, these can’t be used in any other purposes. However, the main verdicts written in English language will be applicable officially and practically, he added.  

An official of the Law Ministry said that in the first phase, ‘Amar Bhasha’ software is being used to translate the judgments of the Appellate Division and High Court Division of the Supreme Court into Bengali. It will also be used in the lower court across the country in phases.

The ‘Amar Bhasha’ software has been developed in Bangladesh Supreme Court in collaboration with ‘EkStep’ Foundation of India which also created software in that country titled ‘Anuvaad’. This translation software was used by the Indian Supreme Court as SUVAS (Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software) from November 26 in 2019. They translate verdicts from English to some vernacular languages, including Bengali, through the ‘Anuvaad’ software.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka has provided the software to the Bangladesh Supreme Court.

Although the translation software was launched on February 18 formally, the authorities have been using it since December, 2020 informally. The judgment of the-then East Pakistan High Court, in which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was acquitted in 1969, was translated into the vernacular language at first through the ‘Amar Bhasha’ software.

The government has been working to establish the spirit of ‘Amar Ekushey’ by introducing Bengali language in all spheres of the state, including the court.

The court has been delivering verdicts and orders in English since the colonial period. As the judgments are written in English, many litigants have to rely on lawyers to fully understand the judgement.

However, there is a difficulty in introducing cent percent Bengali language in the court, particularly in the top court, as adequate Bengali terminology and infrastructure have not been developed for law till now. For this reason, courts have become accustomed to pronouncing judgments and orders in English.

Meanwhile, the authorities concerned are now in favour of delivering verdicts in Bengali. Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain at a function some days ago said that the Supreme Court will start issuing all its orders and verdicts in Bengali soon.

In that function, Law Minister Anisul Haque had said that in future, the courts of the country will no longer need such translation software as the government is working so that the verdict is written in Bengali.

The ‘Bangla Language Implementation Act, 1987’ was introduced in the country in a bid to ensure the use of Bengali language in all spheres. The High Court in several times also gave order for the use of Bengali language in all official activities as well as on car number plates, signboards, nameplates and television advertisements.