Language data as a foundation for developing countries: The ANLoc 100 African locales initiative

Free and open source software (FOSS) is only free to users who are able to understand how to use it. When an interface is in a language at which the user is not adept, she bears the cost of either learning technical concepts in the foreign language, making errors when using the software or wasting time installing and attempting to make sense of a product that ultimately proves useless. European developers recognized the problem of language localization (L10n) early, establishing systems and bodies to overlay interfaces for languages from Italian to Finnish. In Africa, however, FOSS has until recently stagnated in the former colonial languages of English, French and Portuguese, with Arabic, Swahili and Afrikaans making much lesser and much later appearances. Not coincidentally, use of FOSS, like use of much information and communications technology (ICT) other than mobile phones, has remained extremely low among most of the continent’s inhabitants.

Related Subject(s): Environment and Climate Change
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