Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Umoja Project joins The African Network for Localization

Our mission is to empower Africans to participate in the digital age by removing the last inch limitations imposed on language usage by the limitation of technology.

At The African Network for Localization (ANLoc) it is believed that since languages were there before technologies then technologies should adopt the languages and not the other way round. Thus this group of very hard working people is toiling to archive that. The project has a number of sub-project that are carried out all with the mission in mind.

So what is a ANLoc all about and why Umoja Project partnered with them? Here are the reasons:-

  • Fonts - many of African language make use addition characters and in some case completely different characters. With languages such as a Arabic and Amharic, fonts have to designed and built from scratch.

  • Keyboards - once there fonts have been designed, then the keyboard layout have to designed to meet the needs of a particular language. At the moment ANLoc is developing software version of the keyboard layout and may be someday we will have the hardware implementations for these layouts

  • Languages and ICT Policy – to comply with different languages and their ICT Policy, ANLoc studies and examines the ICT Policy of each country so as to gain a deeper understanding and eventually to accurately inform the policy maker on localization and language issues.

  • Locales – today only 36 languages in Africa's many languages have their LOCALES. ANLoc, through the Afrigen Project is aiming at having 100 locales for African Languages. Is your language in yet and complete? Check the Stats

  • Localization Tools – a bonus for the Umoja Project. ANLoc is investing its energy in developing tools that will easy the task of localization. With tools such as Virtaal and Translate Toolkit, localization is becoming so easy that almost everyone is invited. And with time everyone should be able to take part in localization.

  • Localize Software – after all is said and done, it will be good for software to also speak my language. This sub-project is working at localization software and maintain the localizations. The Umoja Project is doing this at the moment. Now we have a network that has done this for many other languages, from which we will learn from their experience and avoid the mistakes they made.

  • Spell Checkers – creating spell checker enables creators of local contents to be confident with their work. But not many of these exist for African Languages and its ANLoc wish that as many as possible languages will have Spell Checkers. We are lagging behind on this one and the Umoja Project has noted this and making plans to address it.
  • Terminology – to ensure consistence and public translation memory, ANLoc has initiated a Terminology project, whose aim and purpose is to create a 2 500 word ICT term list for use in localization. To ensure that our future localizations are consistent, the Umoja Project is taking on this project immediately so as to have a that as the translation memory for all other localization projects.

  • Training – just like it is with other ICT disciplines, localization requires training. Localization is not all about translation, no there is more to it. ANLoc is aiming at equipping localizers with all the necessary knowledge and skills to manage and execute localizations at professional standards. This includes training them to use the tools developed by ANLoc.

  • Network Activities – the Network organizes and conducts numerous workshops to allow its partners to learn from each others experiences. Also to generate ideas on how best to move forward.

For the Umoja Project, ANLoc has open our eyes to bigger challenges that we may have to address to make an impact in the generaton of Swahili content. But apart from that, ANLoc has exposed to us a sea of knowledge, experience and tools that have been tried and tested.

The challenge for Umoja Project team is to make use of all these and also contribute to the Network what we have learned and developed.

Join In Lets Make a Difference.

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