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Thread: African languages for Microsoft

 
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    Default African languages for Microsoft

    I invite all forum colleagues to follow this interesting podcast sponsored by Moravia. You may find its website at Globally Speaking Radio: Podcast. I few of us may also know Renato from international conferences and forums, and I'm sure we know he makes certainly and excellent host.

    Early in January 2018 a release focused on African languages, with quite interesting contributions made by Manuela Noske, currently serving as Director of Communications for GALA.

    One of those interesting contributions is her report of Microsoft localizing content into a dozen different African languages, at least back when she used to work as a PM for that iconic company.

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    Default Re: African languages for Microsoft

    Thanks, Gentle!

    Really fascinating! Especially how a localization specialist doesn't have to be a native speaker of the language. I wouldn’t have expected that for such complex languages. Most of them are spoken languages, with barely any writing standards, so localizing them must be quite a challenge!
    She did a lot of studying, but still!

    Do we have any one in the forum who can confirm what she says about academia trying to force writing standards down on people? (Not that it’s too different from otherlanguages, but it seems to create a greater conflict here)

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    Default Re: African languages for Microsoft

    Interesting to see the influence of the African culture and history in one's everyday localization projects. Indeed, it seems to me that, more than in any other languages, the African Localization Project coordinator needs to be very familiar with the culture of the target African language, and not only the linguistic side of it. As the speaker said, given that most of those languages are more spoken than written, they evolve at an extremely high pace.
    p.s: I really like the anecdote about the Masai cows

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    Default Re: African languages for Microsoft

    Another interesting contribution from that same podcast, but at a former episode and talking about written languages and rare scripts. At that time, an expert explained how Western Africa adopted more easily the languages of the European settlers (mostly French). However, East Africa tended to preserve their tribal languages and even to develope new more complex ones, with complex scripts, as a way to keep the "invaders" out of the loop and resisting their meddling with their native cultures.

    In fact, it seems that this remark is pretty in sync with what Manuela describes in her contribution.

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