By By (author) Donald W. Osborn
Offering functional techniques to discovering a spot for African languages within the details revolution, this review lays the basis for extra successfully bridging the "digital divide" by means of discovering new ideas to outdated difficulties. carried out through the PanAfrican Localization undertaking less than the sponsorship of Canada’s overseas improvement examine heart, this survey explores hindrances that abate higher use of African languages in software program and web content material, assesses attainable ideas and maps for his or her achieve, and identifies destiny tendencies within the box. one of the key concerns mentioned are the significance of localization within the African context; boundaries to extra common use of African languages in net desktop know-how; and by means of whom, for which languages, and during which nations efforts are being made. important to the dialogue is the creation of the idea that of "localization ecology" to account for the main elements, facilitate dialogue in their interplay, and speak to consciousness to how making plans and enforcing localization can and may give some thought to those issues.
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Additional info for African Languages in a Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities for Indigenous Language Computing
3). The model is not intended to be definitive – there may be other ways of illustrating the same issues and the relationships among the key factors – but it serves at least as the basis for discussion and as a means of keeping the key factors in plain view during the discussion. A list of combinations of pairs of factors helps to show the coverage of the PLETES model. za ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ support for African language documentation, periodicals and other media that produce resources that can be used in aspects of localisation; L anguage and technology: ways in which the technology supports the languages, including Unicode, keyboard layouts, potential for software localisation and advanced applications; ways in which the languages support the technology, including terminology; the translation aspect of localisation; computational linguistics; L anguage and economics: resources for language work (including documentation, corpus development and terminology); economics of localisation; Sociocultural and education: rates of school attendance and completion; who is educated; numbers of people with skills in particular areas, which is a factor in knowing what proportion of the population could actually take advantage of localised software; Sociocultural and political: who makes the policies; the nature of the interests, which may be important in understanding official attitudes to localisation as well as matters such as language policy, and in turn suggests approaches to addressing those as needed; Sociocultural and technology: who has physical access and rights to use the technology; attitudes to technology; the impact of technology on culture and society; Sociocultural and economic: fundamental and generally longstanding socioeconomic issues, including the foundations of the analogue divide that often parallels or conditions the digital divide; Education and politics: educational policy; Education and technology: education about technology; technology in education; efforts to put computers in schools or give laptops to children, which are examples of cases where this is a primary dynamic; Education and economics: investment in education; budgets (for example, for schools, teacher training, materials development and books for students); Technology and politics: ict policy and planning, including national information and communications infrastructure plans; issues related to software licensing and intellectual property; Economics and politics: economic policy, including development, budget and donor priorities; Economics and technology: the economics of ict, including issues such as the relative resources available for investment in ict s, the attractiveness of outsourcing strategies and the marketing of localised software.
Each of these three categories is very broad and includes subdivisions, which are useful for highlighting the importance of interrelationships. It is possible, for instance, to develop ways of using a language on a computer without considering the users (other than those working on the project), or to develop new systems for users without considering the dimension of languages (other than a dominant one, as will be discussed with respect to ‘digital divide’ projects). 2 is a simple representation of these three factors and their interconnections.
Other examples similarly illustrate the interaction of factors. In cases where a government or a donor announces a project to establish rural telecentres (as in Ghana in 200519) or to supply computers to schools (as in Rwanda in 2005) (Nsengiyumva & Stork 2005), the availability or lack of localised software makes a big difference to the options for the project and what it can provide. Such programmes could in turn provide impetus and resources for localisation. Localising software also depends on some levels of standardisation of orthographies, terminology and dictionaries, which might in turn perhaps benefit from government language policies as well as other institutional programmes on local languages (for example, at universities, literacy agencies or non-governmental organisations such as Sil International), but which might also be catalysed by localisation initiatives.