Windows 7 will be available in 10 African languages! It’s estimated that more than half of all South Africans lack access to modern computer technology — and even if they had access, they would not be able to use it, as the interface would not be in a language they could understand.
That’s according to Vis Naidoo, the citizenship lead at Microsoft South Africa. Speaking at the Local Language Programme (LLP) Africa Summit in Sandton, Naidoo said providing access to computer technology in local languages will open up new worlds for education and economic participation for millions of South Africans.
Translation teams from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia have already started translating Windows 7 and the upcoming Office 2010 productivity suite into languages like Sesotho sa Leboa, Setswana, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Afrikaans, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, kiSwahili and Amharic.
Microsoft plans to translate Windows 7 and Office 2010 into 59 local languages by the end of 2011. Its most popular software packages have already been translated into 101 languages – including include Azeri, Georgian, Macedonian, Uzbek, Bosnian, Punjabi and Kyrgyz.
In South Africa, more than 4 million Afrikaans, isiXhosa, Setswana, isiZulu and Sesotho sa Leboa words were used to translate Microsoft’s Office 2007 suite and Windows Vista operating system. A team of 40 linguists and two project managers had the task of ensuring the most correct technical lexis for each vernacular.
Users can download the language packs from Microsoft.