Portuguese spelling reform in Brazil

On January 1st, 2009, Brazil started adopting the new spelling rules, defined in the Spelling Agreement signed in 1990 by seven Portuguese-speaking countries. Grammarians estimate that the spelling reform affects 0.5% of the Portuguese (Brazil) lexicon. In Brazil, there will be a 4-year transition period in which both spellings will be accepted. As the purpose…


Context-sensitive speller

Today’s post in the Office Natural Language Team Blog reminds us that a great addition to Office 2007, a context-sensitive spelling checker, is also available for Spanish (as well as English and German). It is a very useful feature for languages with recurrent homophones, like they’re, their and there in English. It helps users avoid…

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Cultural awareness and product development/localization

Sarah Dillon in There’s something about translation has a very interesting post on multilingualism and cultural identity and their implications for language professionals. It made me reflect on cultural awareness and the role it plays in the development and localization of Microsoft products. As an Italian terminologist in the Microsoft Language Excellence team, I often…

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Latin terms and software terminology

Until the 18th century Latin used to be the lingua franca of scholars and scientists. Nowadays the role belongs to English, the recognized global language of business, science and technology. Predictably, quite a few English IT terms have been taken into other languages as loanwords (e.g. software, blog, cookie, OK, etc.) and are instantly recognizable in…

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Animals and… IT terminology!

English is a very creative language which often uses semantic neologisms (a new meaning is given to an already existing word) and/or terminologization (a generic word is transformed into a new term in a special language). Here are a few well-known examples* of terms that originally described only animals but which have taken on new…

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Terms under the spotlight

This page is a compilation of the “terms of the month” featured in the Microsoft Language Portal. It includes the following terms: BreadcrumbCookieNudgeRibbonTag cloudTapWizard   Breadcrumb The term breadcrumb navigation was coined in reference to the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, by analogy to the trail of breadcrumbs that the children left in the forest…


Azure, an interesting term

Over the past two weeks there has been a huge interest in Windows Azure, the cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform. From a terminological point of view, azure is a very interesting word. Both the noun and the adjective denote the…

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TBot, the translator robot

  Have you ever heard about TBot, Windows Live Messenger translator robot? TBot can translate your instant messages into several languages. Would you like to give it a try? Then, add TBot (mtbot@hotmail.com) to your contact list in Windows Live Messenger! Once you have added TBot to your contact list, the robot can start translating…

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