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by Staff Writer
Microsoft has unveiled the launch of Kiswahili text translation which is, according to the company, the first African language to be supported by the company’s automatic translation service – Microsoft Translator.
Microsoft revealed that the translation system was created in collaboration with Translators without Borders, a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to increase access to knowledge through humanitarian translations.
According to Microsoft, translation to Kiswahili will be available throughout the Microsoft Translator ecosystem of supported products, thus empowering individuals and organisations through fast and cost-effective translation. The translation system aims at increasing access to knowledge as well as encouraging intercultural communication by creating new language systems.
Speaking at the launch, Microsoft’s Kenya Country Manager Kunle Awosika said that through the new translation system, governments in the region will be able to make documents and information available at virtually no cost. In addition, both government and non-governmental organisations will be able to quickly communicate with locals, and most importantly, people will be able to communicate back and forth across borders for both business and personal purposes.
“Adding Kiswahili brings us one step closer to our ultimate goal—permanently breaking down the language barriers that separate us by allowing people to translate anything, anywhere, at any time. Kiswahili speakers in East Africa and around the globe now have access to a wider range of information and culture, and can interact with speakers of the 50 languages supported by Microsoft Translator. What’s more, speakers of these languages now also have direct access to the rich history and culture of Kiswahili speakers far and wide,” Mr. Awosika concluded.
Kiswahili will also be available as an instant messaging language in Skype for Windows Desktop for real-time communication around the world. In addition, developers will be able to integrate Kiswahili translation into their own products and apps through the Microsoft Translator API.