Not to detract from the significance of this work and announcement, but back in
the late 1990s a wordprocessor for Somali was developed by SomiTek (Somali
Information Technology) http://www.somitek.com/ . It also includes a
spell-check & English-Somali translator. I did not evaluate it so can't comment
on its features, but it was among the first. However, it doesn't appear that it
has been updated.
There was also a wordprocessor for Oromo created by an outfit called OromoSoft,
but their website has not functioned for a while.
None of this of course diminishes the achievments of translate.org.za which is
clearly serving as the model for language localization of OSS in Africa for a
new generation of computing, and also raising the level of competition with MS
in the area of language localization. Moreover, while SomiTek and OromoSoft
are/were based in the US (African expatriate involvement in ICT for their home
countries is still a factor not to be overlooked), translate.org.za is a leader
among African language & ICT efforts based in Africa.
Kudos to Dwayne and the entire Zuza Software Foundation for their ongoing
Quoting "Donald Z. Osborn" <[log in to unmask]>:
> FYI... (with apologies to those who already received this on
> "translate-announce" mailing list)
> ----- Forwarded message from Dwayne Bailey <[log in to unmask]> -----
[ . . . ]
> Computer Software in South African languages available on Global Software
> Freedom Day
> JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (19 August, 2004) - History is being made with the
> translation of computer software into a number of South Africa's official
> languages ahead of the first annual Global Software Freedom Day.
[ . . . ]
> "We are about to launch the first African language word processor, quality
> software in South African language," said an ecstatic Dwayne Bailey, founder
> and director of the Zuza Software Foundation, of which Translate.org.za is
> ongoing project.
> "This is the first African's-helping-Africans, no strings attached Free
> word processor. It has always been my dream that one day fellow South
> would be using computers with quality software in their mother tongues. So
> we have translated software into Zulu, Sepedi and Afrikaans," he added.
> Translate.org.za translator, Thobile Mhlongo, agrees. She said: "Using
> OpenOffice.org in Zulu was phenomenal. Seeing my language used on a computer
> made me think of all the school children, grannies and other proud Zulu
> speakers who will use this software."
[ . . . ]