Vista, MS Office in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Dec 13 16:48:15 UTC 2008

Vista, MS Office in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba

When I got Microsoft's invitation to the Local Language Programme
(LLP) in Abuja, I almost dismissed it because of the pressure on my
time at the moment. but after speaking with the Citizenship Manager
and reading the details of what was to be done, I gave it a thought.
The last straw came when I saw the volume of work (close to 600 pages)
that had been done with the glossaries!

Led by another Microsoft partner, Alt-i (led by one of my long-time
mentors, Dr. Tunde Adegbola), the work that was presented by the
Minister of Education at the Shehu Musa Yaradua Centre Board Room in
Abuja included the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba translations of glossaries
that have now laid the foundation for the integration of these local
languages into the Vista and Microsoft Office environment. Imagine
working on your machine and speaking Igbo to your machine when asking
it to shut down. Or, click in Yoruba. How about caps lock in Hausa?

The minister's keynote, which she clearly stated was coming from her
as a research person and not as minister (I like that!), was quite
insightful. She touched on Nigeria's lack of a Language Policy and the
fact that our National Policy on Education actually states that every
child must be taught using their local language as language of
instruction for the first 3 years of primary school. Such a brilliant
way of keeping languages alive but our schools think it's "local". I
look forward to the day that policy will be implemented, it'll help
many of us stay connected to the root. It is NOT cool to be unable to
speak your local language!

Nigeria's young people are everywhere across the world. I have met
Nigerians in countries where I assumed there would be none! One major
error, though, is the way we often consider our local language
something meant for the back burner. Truth is that civilizations that
were able to internalize technology in their local languages have been
able to make more sense of it. Just imagine how much details are lost
when you translate a proverb into English… While we master the
language that would help us communicate on a global level, we must
build content in our local language and extend the perimeters of
innovation through that.

The glossary translations are available for download on PIN's website
through these links: Hausa | Igbo | Yoruba. Please feel free to
provide feedback through nigeriallp[at]!

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