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Congratulations to Dwayne and the Translate.org.za team!  


South African language innovators win top African ICT award for bridging the
digital divide
Press Release (PDF)

INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE:

SOUTH AFRICAN LANGUAGE INNOVATORS WIN TOP AFRICAN ICT AWARD FOR BRIDGING THE
DIGITAL DIVIDE.

Translate.org.za has won the prestigious African ICT Achiever 2006 Award for
bridging the digital divide in Africa by breaking down the language barrier!

An ecstatic Dwayne Bailey, Founder of Translate.org.za said, "Finally, after
years of hard work promoting the importance of mother tongue languages in
ICTs it is fitting that language has been recognised as a critical part of
the digital divide in the same year the African Union celebrates the year of
African languages."

Bailey added, "We hope this will lead to more localisation within South
Africa and across the continent as we look forward to helping others to make
similar achievements in their countries."

Translate.org.za's work has included the translation of computer software
into the 11 official languages of South Africa using locally based
translators; and more recently the creation of the first all-South African
language keyboard - a world first!

"This is the first African's-helping-Africans, no strings attached Free
Software. It has always been my dream that one day fellow South Africans
would be using computers in their mother tongues," said Bailey.

The NGO intervenes whenever technology becomes a barrier to language. For
example, Venda, one of the official languages of South Africa, cannot be
accurately typed on a computer. The result being that Venda speakers are
unable to type their own names correctly.

Therefore, one can only wonder how their names have been typed on their
birth certificates. Using Translate.org.za's keyboard means Venda can for
the first time be typed accurately along with all the other official
languages including Afrikaans and to a lesser extent Northern Sotho and
Tswana.

Translate has also made spell checkers from Afrikaans all the way to Zulu!
This means people in South Africa no longer have to suffer the indignity of
their language being underlined in red by an ignorant teacher.

Abe Mathibela, Business Development Manager at Translate.org.za, and a
mother tongue Sesotho speaker said, "This recognition makes me very, very
happy. It's a breakthrough, as now the common myths and fallacies that we
cannot have computers in our languages have been bridged. There are a whole
lot of things that can now happen across Africa to challenge the exclusion
of African languages."

On the African continent as well as world-wide, Translate.org.za has
provided help and support to other passionate people wanting to start
similar initiatives for their mother tongue. Now through the WordForge
Foundation, of which Translate.org.za is a founding partner, they continue
to help other both in Africa and the rest of the world.

Supporters of Translate.org.za include Obsidian Systems, The Shuttleworth
Foundation, St James Software, Hewlett-Packard South Africa, the Department
of Communication and the CSIR.

To arrange interviews or for further information contact:
Dwayne Bailey, Translate.org.za Founder & Director +27 (0) 83 443 7114
Janet Sebastian, Translate.org.za Media Liaison +27 (0) 82 584 0211

Photographs of Dwayne Bailey, his team of translators & programmers and the
African ICT Achievers Award are available on request or visit
http://translate.org.za/content/view/1729/