a thought on microsoft...

Donald Z. Osborn dzo at BISHARAT.NET
Fri Nov 12 18:41:43 UTC 2004

Good points, Mia. Microsoft gets a lot of negative reactions, but without
getting into that debate, I think that its multilingual efforts are very
positive. And from the point of view of promoting localization of software in
diverse languages it is ideal to have competition among MS, Apple (per Sandra's
message) and the open source movement.

Re the technical challenges in localizing for languages that have special
character needs, this is a topic that is coming up for African languages. Most
localization so far (at least open source) has involved languages of the south
and east of the continent that use the simple Latin alphabet.

Don Osborn

Quoting "MiaKalish at LFP" <MiaKalish at LEARNINGFORPEOPLE.US>:

> It is really, really, really hard to build something as big as Windows in
> another language.
> I struggled for 3 years to get Mescalero to adopt some fonts that would work
> in Microsoft Office, which I had to design, build, and develop supporting
> tools for.
> To translate all the interfaces and error messages requires rebalancing all
> the spaces, double-checking all the "translations", making sure that the
> spelling and grammar-checking work right, resequencing the sort mechanism,
> and on a good day, redoing piles of graphics.
> I think it is a really good idea, and I would be happy if Microsoft had
> support for Athapascan, which is more difficult that Romance language
> derivatives because there are more characters, and there are those funny
> two-character letters, I don't remember what they are called.
> So in summary, I can tell you that each individual trying to bring
> technological support for each language is near impossible. I am a really,
> really good techie, and I can't make it happen by myself. So I am glad
> Microsoft is doing this. It is much better than having to have each
> individual pay $99-$125 per font, which is decorative, and which can't be
> printed using any other fonts.
> Producing materials for linguists is one thing. They don't need a lot of
> fonts. But People need to be able to have lots of fonts to do invitations,
> posters, love letters, business letters, graphical headings for various
> things like portfolios, and the fonts need to work on the Internet. Anything
> less is not supporting the revitalization efforts.
> So Yeah! Microsoft!
> But I am interested in what others think, It's Friday. . . . perhaps people
> have time to send along a thought.
> Mia
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "phil cash cash" <cashcash at EMAIL.ARIZONA.EDU>
> Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 11:00 AM
> Subject: a thought on microsoft...
> > Hi all, after today's news items, i can't help but conjour this image of
> > "microsoft" roaming the world as some kind of [...] that devours
> > languages and spits them out in code.
> >
> > phil cash cash
> > UofA
> >
> >

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