ELL: Q: What minority language software would you like to see?

Chuck Coker chuckc at TYRELL.COM
Thu Sep 27 17:50:43 UTC 2001

About a week or so ago, I posted a question about computer software
localization (l10n) efforts. I have received a lot of replies from all over
the world and will post a summary in about another week. I want to make sure
all replies are in before summarizing.

Based on the replies I received so far, it appears that there is a lot of
demand for l10n for minority languages all over the world, from languages as
small as one fluent speaker left to languages with millions of speakers.
I've received responses from all continents except Antarctica (if you're
there, I'm waiting).

That leads me to my next question: What minority language software would you
like to see?

If properly designed from the beginning, software can be built that makes
changing languages relatively easy. For example, it might take a lot of
effort to write a word processor or an educational language-learning
application in Serrano. Once that is done, however, making another version
for Cahuilla would not be too difficult since all the "hard" work will have
already been done. Basically, English (in my case) to Cahuilla text
translations would have to be done, but after that I could recompile the
application and it would be ready to go. (All of my experience so far is
with left-to-right languages.)

I'm working on submitting a proposal to the owner of the company I work for
to develop localized software for minority languages. Since we are a very
small company, we could afford to take on projects such as this. Larger
companies will never develop minority language software due to the small

So what I need to know for my proposal is:

1. What kind of software would you like to see in ~your~ language? Any kind,
from a complete operating system to a simple text editor or database. The
more detailed the description, the better it would be for my proposal.

2. What would you be willing to pay for each of the software applications
that would be useful to you? I am asking at what price (if any) would you
~actually buy~ the product, not what you think a fair market value would be.
For example, you would use it if it was free, but not if you had to spend
money. (Please be honest here.)

3. What computer platforms do you use? For example, Windows NT, Mac OS X,
Linux/KDE, etc.

If there is not enough market potential for even the very small company I
work for to take on these jobs, I still might work on them on my own as time
allows just because I think languages are important.

Thank you for your time reading this,
Chuck Coker

Chuck Coker <chuckc at tyrell.com>
Software Developer, Tyrell Software Corporation
23151 Verdugo Drive, Suite 204
Laguna Hills, California 92653 United States
+1 949 458 1911 ext. 3

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