The following item may be of interest. I have heard elsewhere that MS is working
on localization for Senegalese national languages. Perhaps similar efforts are
underway elsewhere on the continent. (The article below mentions Amharic.)
It would be interesting to hear more also of open source efforts to localize for
African langages. One notable one of course is translate.org.za
----- Forwarded message from phil cash cash <[log in to unmask]> -----
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 08:46:32 -0700
From: phil cash cash <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Indigenous Languages and Technology <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Microsoft goes even more global (fwd)
To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Microsoft goes even more global
ALLISON LINN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
On the Web
SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp. is already known for its aggressive efforts
to extend its global reach. Now, it's taking those efforts one step
The latest versions of the company's dominant Windows computer operating
system and popular Office software soon will be available in languages
ranging from Ethiopia's Amharic to Inuktitut of the Arctic's Inuit,
under a project involving Microsoft and various local governments and
The Local Language Program has already resulted in a Hindi version of
Microsoft's software, and there are plans to make Windows and Office
available in nine additional languages spoken in India in the next
The Redmond software maker hopes the program will soon double the roster
of languages available for Microsoft products, from 40 to 80. Hundreds
of millions of people speak the languages that will be offered, but
it's unclear how many of them have access to computers right now.
Microsoft is providing technology and footing the bill for the projects,
then working with local officials in a country or community to build a
glossary. Microsoft executive Maggie Wilderotter said the goal is to
make sure the glossary reflects both language and local culture.
"I think the main benefit is the cultural benefit," Wilderotter said.
"Language is one of the most central parts of culture, and preservation
of culture, and technology has this tendency to make everything very
It won't cost extra for users to get the software in their native
language. And while Microsoft will own the technology used to build the
glossaries, the company said local officials are free to use those
glossaries to adapt other, competing software in their language.
Joe Wilcox, an analyst with Jupiter Research, said the local language
offering might help Microsoft gain an edge in new markets that
otherwise might be lost to homegrown competitors.
"If you look at Microsoft's success, it's really built on regions like
North America and Europe, but where's the growth? It's Asia, it's
China, it's India. These are the countries with massive populations,
and also countries most likely to produce (another) Microsoft."
©2004 The Olympian
----- End forwarded message -----