How technology can help local languages


Today there are nearly 7,000 languages spoken around the world and scientists estimate that three languages become extinct every month and over half of all languages are in danger of becoming extinct before the end of this century.  Just think of the knowledge and history that’s lost when a language dies. Today is UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day and a great time to celebrate the importance of language to everyone around the world.

There are many economic and cultural reasons why so many languages are at risk of extinction.  However, with the ubiquity of computers in our lives, one element that can help preserve language is technology.  At Microsoft we’ve committed to enable as many people as possible to work, communicate and collaborate using their native language through our Local Language Program.

While software is localized for the major world languages if you live in a smaller community you are often forced to use technology in a foreign language, adding yet another hurdle to protecting and developing your native tongue. Take Spain as an example. More than 74 percent of the country’s 47 million citizens speak Castilian Spanish, but 26 percent speak Valencian, Basque, Catalan or Galician. Through the technology of Local Interface Packs (LIPS) and Caption Language Interface Packs (CLIPS), which are part of the Microsoft Local Language Program, native speakers of Valencian, Basque, Catalan and Galician can now use technology such as Windows and Office on their own terms.

Today Microsoft offers Windows and Office in nearly 100 languages, reaching more than 90 percent of the global population.

In addition to providing these Local Language Packs, we also provide online dictionaries, translation tools and localized versions of our developer tools.

Ultimately these tools and resources help support language preservation and translation, which can lead to better economic opportunities through giving more people access to technology in their own language.

On International Mother Language Day it’s a good time to celebrate the wonderful diversity around our planet and recognize the importance those languages play in our culture and diversity. You can find a whole set of resources and download instructions for Local Language Packs at the Local Language Program website.

Some of the languages supported today by the Local Language Program.

Language

Primary Location

Afrikaans

South Africa

Albanian <Shqipe>

Albania

Alsace

France

Amharic <????>

Ethiopia

Arabic <???????>

multiple locations

Armenian <???????>

Armenia

Assamese <??????>

India

Azerbaijani (Latin) <Az?rbaycan>

Azerbaijan

Bangla (Bangladesh) <????? (????????)>

Bangladesh

Basque <Euskara>

Spain

Bengali (India) <????? (????)>

India

Bosnian (Cyrillic) <????????>

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnian (Latin) <Bosanski>

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Breton

France

Bulgarian <?????????>

Bulgaria

Catalan <Català>

Spain

Chinese Simplified <????>

China

Chinese Traditional <????>

China

Croatian <Hrvatski>

Croatia

Czech <Ceština>

Czech Republic

Dari <???>

Afghanistan

Danish <dansk>

Denmark

Dutch <Nederlands>

Netherlands

Estonian <Eesti>

Estonia

Filipino

Philippines

Finnish <suomi>

Finland

French <français>

France

Galician <Galego>

Spain

Georgian <???????>

Georgia

German <Deutsch>

Germany

Greek <????????>

Greece

Gujarati <???????>

India

Haitian Creole

Haiti

Hausa

Nigeria

Hebrew <?????>

Israel

Hindi <?????>

India

Hindi <?????>

India

Hungarian <Magyar>

Hungary

Icelandic <Íslenska>

Iceland

Igbo

Nigeria

Indonesian <Bahasa Indonesia>

Indonesia

Inuktitut

Canada

Irish <Gaeilge>

Ireland

isiXhosa

South Africa

IsiZulu

South Africa

Italian <italiano>

Italy

Japanese <???>

Japan

Kannada <?????>

India

Kazakh <?????b>

Kazakhstan

Khmer <?????>

Cambodia

Kiswahili

multiple locations

Konkani <??????>

India

Korean <???>

Korea

Kyrgyz <??????>

Kyrgyzstan

Lao <???>

Laos

Latvian <Latviešu>

Latvia

Lithuanian <Lietuviu>

Lithuania

Luxembourgish <Lëtzebuergesch>

Luxembourg

Macedonian <??????????>

Macedonia, Fmr Yugoslav Republic of

Malay (Brunei Darussalam) <Bahasa Melayu (Brunei Darussalam)>

Brunei

Malay (Malaysia) <Bahasa Melayu (Malaysia)>

Malaysia

Malayalam <??????>

India

Maltese <Malti>

Malta

Maori <Reo Maori>

New Zealand

Marathi <?????>

India

Marathi <?????>

India

Mongolian (Cyrillic) <?????? ???>

Mongolia

Nepali <??????>

Nepal

Norwegian (Nynorsk) <Norsk (Nynorsk)>

Norway

Odia <????>

India

Pashto <????>

Afghanistan

Persian <?????>

multiple locations

Polish <Polski>

Poland

Portuguese Brazil <Português (Brasil)>

Brazil

Punjabi (Gurmukhi, India) <??????>

India

Quechua <Runasimi>

Peru

Romanian <Româna>

Romania

Romansh <Rumantsch>

Switzerland

Russian <???????>

Russia

Scottish Gaelic <Gàidhlig>

United Kingdom

Serbian (Cyrillic) <??????>

Serbia

Serbian (Latin) <Srpski>

Serbia

Sesotho sa Leboa

South Africa

Setswana

South Africa

Sinhala <?????>

Sri Lanka

Slovak <Slovencina>

Slovakia

Slovenian <slovenšcina>

Slovenia

Spanish <Español>

Spain

Swedish <svenska>

Sweden

Tamil <?????>

India

Tatar <?????>

Russia

Telugu <??????>

India

Thai <???>

Thailand

Turkish <Türkçe>

Turkey

Turkmen <Türkmen>

Turkmenistan

Ukrainian <??????????>

Ukraine

Urdu <?????>

Pakistan

Uzbek (Latin) <O’zbekcha>

Uzbekistan

Valencian <Valencià>

Spain

Vietnamese <Tiê´ng Vi?t>

Vietnam

Welsh <Cymraeg>

United Kingdom

Yoruba

Nigeria

Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous says:

    thank you

  2. pr and communications says:

    Thanks a lot

    your blog is very informative

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