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HSRC Press :: African Languages in a Digital Age

African Languages in a Digital Age
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African Languages in a Digital Age

Challenges and opportunities for indigenous language computing

Don Osborn

 
Format168mm x 235mm (Soft Cover)
Pages176
ISBN 100-7969-2249-7
ISBN 13978-07969-2249-6
Publish Year2010
RightsWorld Rights
 
 
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African Languages in a Digital Age :: Challenges and opportunities for indigenous language computingFree DownloadAfrican Languages in a Digital Age :: Challenges and opportunities for indigenous language computing

 
Description

With increasing numbers of computers and diffusion of the internet around the world, localisation of the technology and the content it carries into the many languages people speak is becoming an ever more important area for discussion and action. Localisation, simply put, includes translation and cultural adaptation of user interfaces and software applications, as well as the creation and translation of internet content in diverse languages. It is essential in making information and communication technology more accessible to the populations of the poorer countries, increasing its relevance to their lives, needs, and aspirations, and ultimately in bridging the ‘digital divide’.

Localisation is a new and growing field of inquiry. This book identifies issues, concerns, priorities, and lines of research and is intended as a baseline study in defining localisation in Africa and how it is important for development and education in the long term.

Techies, geeks, P2P experts, etc. as well as researchers and development organisations, this book is for you.

Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
List of acronyms and abbreviations

1. Introduction

2. Background
Importance of African languages and implications for ICT
What is localisation?
Overlapping regional contexts: localisation where?
Who localises?
What is the current state of localisation across this region?

3. Introducing ‘localisation ecology’
An ecological perspective of the environment for localisation
The ‘PLETES’ model
Dynamic complexes within localisation ecology
Relevance to questions of ICT and localisation

4. Linguistic context
Languages, dialects, and linguistic geography
Sociolinguistics and language change
Oral and literate traditions
Language and language in education policies
Basic literacy, pluriliteracy, and user skills
Terminology and accommodation of ICT concepts

5. Technical context 1: physical access
Access: physical and soft
Basic infrastructure
Computer hardware and operating systems
Connectivity and internet policy

6. Technical context 2: internationalisation
The facilitating technical environment
Handling complex scripts: from ASCII to Unicode
The ‘last mile’ of internationalisation

7. African language text, encoding and fonts
Non-Latin African scripts and ICT
Typology of Latin-based African orthographies
Evolution of African Language text use in ICT
Fonts

8. Keyboards and input systems
Keyboards
Keyboards for Africa
Alternative input methods

9. Defining languages in ICT: tags and locales
Languages and the ISO-639 standards
Locale data for African languages

10. Internet
E-mail
Internationalisation and the web
Web content in and about African languages
Internationalised domain names

11. Software localisation
Applications and operating systems
Trends in proprietary software
Trends in FOSS
Software Localisation in African languages
Web interfaces

12. Mobile technology and other specialised applications
Miniaturisation of ICT
Trends in Africa
Audio dimensions: voice, text-to-speech (TTS), and speech recognition
Geographic information systems (GIS)
Computer assisted translation (CAT)

13. Achieving sustainable localisation
Needs by kind of localisation and localiser
Understanding the needs of localisers
Analysis of needs from a Pan-African perspective
Facilitating communication about localisation

14. Summary and recommendations
Major themes
Strategic perspectives
Conferences and workshops
Training and public education on localisation
Information resources and networking
Languages, policy and planning
Basic localisation, and ICT policies and programmes
Africa and ICT standards for localisation
Advanced applications, tools and research
Conclusion

References
Index

About the Author/s

With an MA and a PhD in Resource Development from Michigan State University, Dr Don Osborn is founder and director of Bisharat, Ltd – a language, technology and development initiative, dedicated to enhancing the use of African languages in computing and on the internet in the service of development

 
 
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