New Microsoft Language Interface Packs (LIP) for Windows XP are getting a positive reaction from some southern Africa government officials.
Zambian Communications and Transport Permanent Secretary Peter Tembo said the Setswana LIP, released a few weeks ago, along with Kiswahili for east Africa and isiZulu for South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, will help promote technology since people can now work in their local languages.
“One of the reasons why so many people in Africa are not using computers is the language barrier. The development by Microsoft is certainly welcome as it will ensure that so many people use computers because all the work will be done in the languages people understand,” Tembo said.
The Kiswashili LIP was launched last year while the isiZulu software was launched earlier this year. Kiswahili language is widely spoken in many African countries, and the Africa Union adopted it as an official language in 2004.
Microsoft said last week that through collaboration with local and regional governments, it intends to add more African languages in the near future. The LIP is the key technology in Microsoft’s Local Language Program, aimed at helping local communities expand IT opportunities and work with localized software. Microsoft also has been working with local academic communities to translate the glossary of core computer terms for each of the languages developed.
To make the Setswana LIP possible, Microsoft worked with the Pan South African Language Board, the South African government, translators, the Setswana language community and the academic community.
The LIPs allow users to install a local language user interface on top of the English-language version of Windows.
-Michael Malakata , IDG News Service (Lusaka Bureau)
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